I’m betting you and I are both are hot under the collar about the increases in property appraisal valuations. I think we need significant changes to the appraisal process, and I’ll have more to say in the coming days. Changing the appraisal process will require a legislative session, hard work and majority support from other legislators. For now let me just say that appraisals are only a part of the process. Our local taxing entities will decide how big your tax payment will be in relation to the appraised value of your home, land, or business.

When you get your tax bill this fall, you will see a column that gives you the No New Revenue tax rate. This is what the tax rate would be for a taxing entity (cities, counties, school districts, etc.) to collect the same amount of tax dollars as the previous year. As appraisals go up, the tax rate can go down to account for those increases. In the last session the legislature capped tax rates and required citizen approval to exceed certain thresholds. Citizens also have the power to oppose tax increases at public meetings and hold the locally elected official accountable for those proposed increases.

While it is the responsibility of the legislature to work to get the appraisal process fixed, it’s important to know that in trying financial times like these, there is no floor on how low local officials can set the tax rate.