Some Houston-area lawmakers are urging homeowners to protest property appraisals

Of course, higher property appraisals mean higher property taxes

Home appraisal process affected by pandemic

HOUSTON – “Oh, absolutely I’m protesting,” said Galveston County property owner, Scot Rice.

Rice knows the sting of opening his property appraisals this year.

“One of them doubled, some of them have gone up 25-30%,” said Rice.

Rice is not alone. KPRC 2 has heard from viewers across our area that they’re seeing big jumps in property appraisals. Of course, higher property appraisals mean higher property taxes.

“The real problem is this whole appraisal system by law is on auto-pilot,” said State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, (R) District 7.

Bettencourt is chair of the Senate property tax committee and he said the problems is current appraisals are based on what market value was on January 1.

“Our sales tax collections were up, house sales were up, home values were up, commercial was looking good and then all of a sudden it just stops,” said Bettencourt.

Bettencourt is encouraging everyone to protest their property appraisals this year.

“And maybe get their value down lower than last year’s value,” said Bettencourt.

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry also wants change. He said while no one could have predicted this pandemic and the problems arising from it highlight the need for change.

“We have to have some better way of individually assessing properties and not doing it en masse,” Henry said.

For now, Henry is calling for property assessments to be frozen at last year’s values because of the economic turmoil

“It may not be possible for some people to have their hearing online, if they don’t have the right audio/visual equipment, they won’t have the same abilities as someone that does have it,” said Henry.

Bettencourt said he is not in favor of freezing assessments. When the legislature convenes in January, Bettencourt says they are going to have find ways to help people who will not be able to afford their property taxes this year. Bettencourt said his committee will look at everything from payment plans to giving breaks on interest and penalties.

Judge Henry says he will push for a revamping of the system.

About the Author:

Award winning investigative journalist who joined KPRC 2 in July 2000. Husband and father of the Master of Disaster and Chaos Gremlin. “I don’t drink coffee to wake up, I wake up to drink coffee.”