State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, who represents District 18, said she has heard many concerns from those she represents about appraisal notices.

“I am increasingly alarmed by aggressive appraisal notices being sent to homeowners and business owners by county appraisal districts,” she said on May 12. 

Kolkhorst, who is based in Brenham, said some homeowners in her district are facing 10 percent or even greater increases on values. 

“Keep in mind the maximum value allowed for increase on a homestead in any given year is 10 percent,” she said.

Annual appraisals are based on values as of Jan. 1, which means this year’s estimates were made before the impact of COVID-19 hit the economy. 

“Still, the appraisal process should be improved to reflect the current financial condition facing many Texans,” Kolkhorst said. “Local appraisals and tax rates should reflect the economic slump that many Texans are experiencing right now. I’m surprised to see aggressive initial appraisals again this year but hopefully local Appraisal Review Board members will work in a fair and realistic manner that reflects the pandemic.”

With the economic pullback forcing a readjustment across much of the real estate market, Kolkhorst said she plans to refile legislation that would drastically lower the current 10 percent cap on appraisal increases, providing instead a 5 percent cap for residential homesteads.

“Always remember that the appraisal process is only half the equation. We cannot have an honest conversation about property taxes if it is solely about appraisals, and avoids discussing tax rates,” she said. “Together, both an appraisal and a tax rate create our annual property tax bill. A local tax rate can be lowered to offset any appraisal hike and provide relief immediately. It’s not honest for a taxing entity to say they can do nothing to lower your property tax bill, and to strategically omit the fact that they themselves set the tax rate this summer. Your local tax rates can offset your local appraisals, plain and simple.”

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