You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Commentary: Why Senate Bill 2 is the real definition of local control

It’s that time of year again: When property owners across Central Texas are reviewing their annual appraisal notices and running the numbers. Homeowners are calculating how much their monthly mortgage payments will increase, while commercial property owners are calculating the hit on their operating expenses.

This year, it’s quite the hit again. In Travis County, residential and commercial property valuations have increased by an average of 8 and 23 percent, respectively. New solutions are needed to slow the skyrocketing property tax values that are overwhelming small businesses and homeowners while taxing jobs and residents out of town.

Senate Bill 2 — also known as the Texas Property Tax Reform and Relief Act of 2017 — puts the power of taxation back in the people’s hands by requiring cities and counties to ask for voter approval for any property tax hike greater than four percent. Just as important, SB 2 brings much-needed transparency and accountability to a convoluted and frustrating appraisal system.

WE SAY…: Read the latest opinions from the Statesman’s editorial board.

Though some lawmakers are pushing the envelope on providing meaningful property appraisal reform for Texas residents and businesses, local municipalities are in a tooth-and-nail fight against SB 2, incorrectly and unjustly calling the bill a “cap” on local services.

To be clear, SB 2 does not prevent taxing entities from raising their tax rate; it simply gives Texans more control in deciding when they do and do not wish that tax rate to be raised.

That’s the real definition of local control.

Skyrocketing property taxes have an immense impact on our city’s economy and overall affordability. Why are municipal leaders OK with allowing residents to vote on whether to keep Uber and Lyft in market — but not on one of their biggest and fastest-growing expenses?

Austin’s business owners understand that we’re living in one of the fastest-growing areas in the country — and funding is needed to sustain that growth. Instead of advocating against a much-needed solution that would enact true appraisal reform in Texas, city leaders should trust their residents to make the right decision on what’s needed for their communities.

BE THE FIRST TO KNOW: When big news breaks, we send Breaking News emails. Click to sign up.

As Texas property valuations are only expected to rise, SB 2 is a step in the right direction to ensure that property owners in Texas get a fair shake. State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, author of SB 2 and chair of the Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief, said it best: “From a homeowner who cannot keep up with their increasing property tax bills, to small businesses seeing their hard-earned profits disappear, and big businesses moving jobs out of Texas, one thing is clear: Texans want and deserve property tax relief now.”

Texas Building Owners & Managers Association applauds the efforts of Bettencourt and the Texas Senate in swiftly passing SB 2. Now, we urge House leaders to move SB 2 quickly through the House and onward to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. Contact your state representative today to voice your support for SB 2 – and give Austin property owners the local control they deserve.

Williams is president of the Texas Building Owners & Managers Association.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Opinion

Commentary: Legislature must do more about surprise medical bills
Commentary: Legislature must do more about surprise medical bills

Is there anything more emblematic of our troubled health care system than a patient receiving a “surprise bill” in the mail after receiving emergency care? The most egregious form of surprise medical bills, also known as balance bills, happen when an out-of-network provider bills a patient despite having delivered care at an in-network...
Two Views: Abbott’s pick-up sticks play politics with a special session
Two Views: Abbott’s pick-up sticks play politics with a special session

With apologies to Joyce Kilmer, the American poet and hero killed in World War I, we might begin a look at the upcoming special session of the Texas Legislature by rudely rewriting a bit of Kilmer’s most famous poem: Laws are made by fools like thee But only God can make a tree. Only the governor can set agenda items for a special session &mdash...
Two Views: Special session offers opportunity for conservative reforms
Two Views: Special session offers opportunity for conservative reforms

There’s a scene in the 1984 film, “Romancing the Stone,” when Kathleen Turner’s character, whose sister has been kidnapped and held for ransom until she delivers a treasure map, says to her hero, “That map is my sister’s life.” Jack T. Colton, played by Michael Douglas, replies, “Like hell it is. Whatever&rsquo...
Letters to the editor: June 26, 2017
Letters to the editor: June 26, 2017

Re: June 20 article, “Already pinched, Texas parks not getting promised state money.” Why am I not surprised! Texas lawmakers have once again siphoned off these state park funds for other purposes, including balancing the state budget. Enough already! The state parks have millions of dollars of backlogged maintenance of parks, facilities...
Commentary: On school bonds, it’s time to go in for all of Austin
Commentary: On school bonds, it’s time to go in for all of Austin

When your school district includes 130 buildings with an average age of 46 years, major renovations will be in order. It is time for Austin to go all in for a school bond that declares our commitment to education across the whole city. The current proposed bond package serves some areas well, neglects others, and doesn’t do enough to address...
More Stories