By: Jay R. Jordan
HOUSTON – Days after Montgomery County commissioners unanimously approved a resolution in support of a property tax reform bill and also passed a 10 percent homestead exemption for homeowners, Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack was commended by state officials for the court’s efforts during a press conference Monday.
The commissioners’ resolution supports legislation filed by state Sens. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, and Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, calling for sweeping tax reform and relief at the local level. In part, teh bill calls for limiting the year-over-year property tax rate increase to 4 percent – unless voters approve otherwise. The current rate is 8 percent, and it calls for a petition in order to have a rollback election. Under the bill, an election would be automatic if the increase is greater than 4 percent.
Bettencourt thanked Noack for his support of the resolution and homestead exemption, a first for Montgomery County homeowners.
“It’s important for folks to know that when a major taxing jurisdiction (i.e. Montgomery County) agrees with the fact that people are being taxed out of their homes or businesses, it’s a great day for Texas taxpayers,” Bettencourt said. “We need property tax relief all across the great state of Texas.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also applauded Noack and commissioners for their support, saying it could pave the way for other counties across the state to follow suit on the ad valorem tax reform.
“The action by Montgomery County is one of the biggest breakthroughs in bringing property tax reform to all Texans,” Patrick said. “The commissioner had the courage to be the leader on this when his own association has been against him. The action by Montgomery County should send a message to every county and every county judge and every commissioner to think, ‘Why are you opposing Senate Bill 2?'”
The Texas Association of Counties came out against the bill, saying the 4 percent cap is bad for local government.
Noack said he believes the Montgomery County resolution and 10 percent homestead exemption could help spur change in Austin with statewide implications.
“If I’m going to be asking our legislators to fight for us in Austin,” Noack said, “I need to make sure we’re doing everything to bring about meaningful property tax relief at the local level.”
Creighton, who coauthored the Senate Bill 2 along with Bettencourt, state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-Fort Worth, and state Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, commended the court as well.
“I’m very pleased Montgomery County has taken the lead in passing a resolution over the past few days to support this effort for property tax relief in the Senate and to listen to the voices of Montgomery County citizens,” Creighton said.