FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/30/2016
Metcalf Files Legislation to Reduce State Debt and Reform Property Tax Appeals
AUSTIN – On November 28, 2016 State Representative Will Metcalf filed two pieces of legislation that he labeled as key components to reforming the property tax process and improving the state's financial policies.
House Bill 455 would allow taxpayers to protest their appraisals via telephone. Currently the only options for taxpayers are to physically appear at an appraisal review hearing or file an affidavit.
"It amazes me that with our abundance of technology we still do not allow taxpayers to appear at their hearing through a phone call," said Metcalf. "It is hard for folks to get off work and appear personally. And you often times are not able to explain adequately in writing your particular situation. Allowing taxpayers to protest their property appraisal through a phone call strikes a great middle ground where you still allow people to live their lives and not spend an entire day at the appraisal district office, while also giving the taxpayer the flexibility to explain their position in a more full and effective manner than an affidavit could provide."
Under current law, the Economic Stabilization Fund, more commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund has a cap equal to ten percent of the previous biennium's general revenue deposits. Texas has yet to reach this cap, but with recent growth in the Rainy Day Fund, Texas has gotten much closer to it. There is no provision for what should be done with funds once this cap is reached, which would mean that those funds would likely be returned to General Revenue for additional spending. House Bill 456 would instead say that once the Rainy Day Fund reaches its cap, any excess funds would be used to pay down state debt obligations.
"Texas has done well economically over the last decade. As a result, we have seen great returns on our state savings account. As we get closer and closer to approaching the ten percent cap on the Rainy Day Fund, I think we need to start thinking about what to do with any excess funds," explained Metcalf. "I do not want to see that money returned to General Revenue where the legislature can then increase spending. Like any family budget, once you reach a savings goal you pay down debt; you do not increase your spending. The state should have the same discipline as any financially prudent Texas family."
To read this legislation, visit www.legis.state.tx.us, or for more information, contact our Capitol office at (512) 463-0726.