Momentum - Business to Business Online Magazine MOMENTUM December 2018 - Page 15

Taxing Matters By: Cheryl E. Johnson, PCC Galveston Co. Tax Assessor Collector cheryl.E.Johnson@co.galveston.tx.us Legislation Proposed at Your Request Over the last 14 years, I have listened carefully to customer concerns and worked with my leadership team to arrive at possible solutions. If either I or other local officials lack the authority to make a correction, we begin researching Texas statutes and administrative rules and will often draft changes to laws that correct the problem. Eventually we obtain assistance of local legislators and proposals are drafted, filed and work their way through the legislative process. We have successfully improved a variety of statutes benefiting our customers, voters, property owners and local governments through the years. Lower Interest Rate on Lawsuit: Refunds When lawsuits are won by the property owner, refunds require 9% interest. We propose returning to prime + 2% interest. Typically only impacts major valuation suits such as refineries. By far the most frequent concern we hear pertains to Texas property tax laws. Although each session we have participated in making changes, significant reforms often take years to accomplish often causing us to retreat, regroup, come up with better solutions then building coalitions and support to try again the next time. Issue Voter Certificates in Even Numbered Years: Change year of mass mailing of voter certs to improve efficiency and accuracy of rolls. The proposals listed below represent current drafts we are seeking Senate and/or House sponsors to file. Following those are proposals that Legislators have committed to file or refile from past sessions. School District Cost Effectiveness: If a school district collects its own taxes, it must do so at a lesser cost than the county tax office or State funding will be reduced the excess amount Base Value on Price Paid: Taxes would be based on the price paid and would not change until sold or significantly improved or damaged. Requires Constitutional Amendment and enabling legislation. Corrections to Laws for Tax Rate: Adoption Cleans up poor language required to be published when rates are adopted. Increase Margin of Error of Property Value Study (PVS): This would reduce pressure on CADs to appraise at 100% of market value increasing Comptroller margin of error rates from 10% to 20%. Reduce Binding Arbitration Fees: Re-establishes a lower cost arbitration fee so that more property owners are able to take advantage of this process. Extend Cost Savings for TNT: Advertising Would allow all governments to use the less costly newspaper publication method used by cities and counties. Sanctions for Candidates: If a false statement is made on a ballot application, creates process to cure discrepancy. To Be Refiled: Correction of Value if Property Sells for Less than CAD Value (if homestead sells for less than CAD value, refund issued for up to two years of overpayments) Elect Appraisal District Board of Directors (creates four county precincts with fifth member elected tax collector at large; creates accountability in CADs) Align State & Federal Law for Military Deferrals of Property Taxes Waiver of Penalty and Interest Due to Mortgage Company Error (if mortgage company requests a tax bill in error and penalties result, allows for waiver of the fees) Other public policy efforts I will continue to support includes automatic disaster reappraisal, ending taxpayer funded lobbying, extending property owner protections such as appraisal and revenue caps, requiring school district tax ratification elections to be held on uniform election date and defining residency for voting. Limit PVS to Every Other Year: This would limit frequency of CAD reappraisals to ONLY every two years. MOMENTUM / December 2018 14