A bill to cap property tax appraisals, Governor Perry's self-proclaimed #1 priority this legislative session, is dead.
"I'm disappointed in the vote. I don't mind saying that," Perry said. "This is not going to go away."
Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston, has been trying for weeks to gather the 100 votes needed to pass his constitutional amendment to halve the amount appraisals can grow each year. Currently, tax appraisals can grow as much as 10 percent annually.
"It's a sad day for the taxpayers of the state of Texas," Bohac said.
Perry vowed to keep up a public campaign to limit what he calls property appraisal "creep." He championed a bill set to be debated Wednesday that will reduce the cap on property tax revenue increases in cities and counties.
Proponents of appraisal caps said they would safeguard property-tax reductions that are part of the school finance plans in the House and Senate. Bohac's measure had support from the Republican leadership, including House Speaker Tom Craddick, who said today he supported appraisal caps.
"We need to take the burden of unfair taxation off the homeowners' shoulders," said Rep. David Leibowitz, D-San Antonio.
Both rural Republicans and Democrats have staunchly opposed the constitutional change, saying it would shift the tax burden to those who can least afford it and hamstring the ability of local governments to pay for vital services such as police and fire protection.
The Texas Association of Counties and the Texas Municipal League have also decried the legislation.
"I think common sense prevailed rather than a political soundbite," said Elna Christopher, spokeswoman for the county association.
On a vote of 81-65, House members stopped debate on the legislation.
"The time to kill a snake is when you've got the hoe in your hand," said Rep. Fred Hill, R-Richardson, who has ardently opposed appraisal caps.
The Chris Bell campaign was quick on the press release draw here, but the tone feels a bit off to me:
HOUSTON- The Chris Bell for Governor Exploratory Committee today called the defeat of property-tax appraisal caps in the House of Representatives a "failure of leadership" by Rick Perry.
"This was Rick Perry's top priority in reforming school finance, and its defeat represents a clear failure of leadership," said Jason Stanford, spokesman for the committee. "It wasn't too long ago that Rick Perry was on the House floor, hat in hand, begging for votes on this issue from a Republican-led legislature. If he can't lead the elected officials in his own party, then Rick Perry has to do some serious soul searching about why his influence within the party is eroding so rapidly. Rick Perry has to mark this up in the loss column."
UPDATE: The Texas Legislature Observed jumps the gun on its announced April 15 debut date to comment on the death of HJR35.Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 12, 2005 to Budget ballyhoo | TrackBack