Galveston County judge calls on Abbott to freeze property assessments

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Galveston County Judge Mark Henry sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott Tuesday asking him to freeze 2020 property assessments at 2019 levels statewide.

The letter cited economic hardships related to the coronavirus pandemic, including the collapse in oil prices and a surge in unemployment.

“Asking Texans to pay more in property taxes this year based on pre-disaster property values would ‘prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with a disaster,’” Henry wrote in the letter. “Texans need the government to get out of the way of a robust economic recovery, and sending taxpayers a bigger bill does the opposite.”

Property values are based on appraisals conducted on Jan. 1, 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the state and disrupted property values, Henry wrote. He added that the current system requiring taxpayers to contest their 2020 property values puts “an unfair burden on the taxpayer” due to the time and resources the process demands. — Clare Proctor