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How Texas Can Fix the Broken Appraisal Process


The 84th Texas Legislature starts tomorrow and Texas BOMA is circling the wagons to oust subjective property appraisals. Houston BOMA EVP/COO Tammy Betancourt (here, right, with JLL's Mary Stanton and Transwestern's Brett Williams at the US Capitol) tells us there have been unpredictable and uncontrolled valuation increases on property values. In some areas of Houston, they’ve increased more than 100% in the last two years. In 2013, commercial property valuations across the Bayou City rose 53% on average, then another 18% in 2014. Similar double-digit increases have occurred in other Texas cities and counties, without proportionate reductions in tax rates.


The appraisal districts haven’t been forthcoming with the way they appraise and the valuations fluctuate dramatically, Tammy says. BOMA's new statewide initiative, Taxed out of Town, advocates for Texas property appraisal reform. BOMA wants to see the appraisal process more standardized to keep it uniform, Tammy says. That way, the players know the rules. Tammy says this issue affects everyone, not just commercial real estate. Higher commercial property taxes lead to increased operating costs for Texas business owners, rents for tenants, and costs for goods and services, she says.