Why TAR is back at the Texas Capitol

Our work at the Texas Capitol this year isn’t done yet.

After the regular session of the 85th Texas Legislature concluded on May 29, Gov. Greg Abbott called the state’s lawmakers back to Austin for a special session, which started July 18.

The Texas Association of REALTORS® will continue to advocate for Texas real estate consumers to ensure their interests are protected.

What’s on the agenda
Gov. Abbott called the special session so lawmakers would pass legislation known as “sunset” bills that weren’t passed during the regular session. This legislation will allow certain state agencies to continue operating after they were reviewed by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission.

On July 20, Gov. Abbott added to the call 19 other issues, including six issues related to real estate.

TAR’s positions
The Texas Association of REALTORS® Legislative Priorities for the 85th Texas Legislature—available at texasrealestate.com/issues—will continue to guide TAR’s advocacy efforts during the special session.

Here’s where TAR stands, or what we expect to happen, on the six real estate-related issues:

  • School finance reform commission: TAR applauds the governor for asking the Legislature to create a commission that would recommend improvements to the public school finance system. TAR believes it’s time for a comprehensive review of the public school finance system and the franchise tax (also known as the business tax) and their impact on local property taxes.
  • Property tax reform: TAR will continue to advocate for more honesty and transparency in the process local taxing entities use to set property tax rates. This has been a priority to Texas REALTORS® during the 85th Texas Legislature. These were addressed in TAR-supported Senate Bill 669 as passed by the House; however, the Legislature didn’t ultimately pass comprehensive property tax reform in the regular session.
  • Preventing cities from regulating what property owners do with trees on private land: During the regular session, TAR supported Senate Bill 744, which would have allowed private-property owners to apply for a credit from their city to offset fees associated with removing trees from their own property. However, Gov. Abbott vetoed the bill because he said it didn’t go far enough to protect private-property owners. TAR hopes that similar legislation will make its way through the special session.
  • Preventing local governments from changing rules midway through construction projects: TAR welcomes any opportunity to enhance or expand protections afforded to property owners seeking to develop their property.
  • Speeding up local government permitting process: TAR supports legislation that fosters the state’s pro-business environment.
  • Municipal annexation reform: TAR anticipates legislation will be filed that requires cities to have voter approval to annex an area. Similar legislation was debated during the regular session, but it didn’t ultimately pass.

How to stay in the loop
A special session may last up to 30 days, but it can be shorter. And the legislative process moves fast—bills can move forward, be amended, or be killed in a matter of hours.

The best way to remain up-to-date is to subscribe to TAR’s Legislative Liaison newsletter at texasrealestate.com/liaison.

This weekly digest explains public policy, politics, and regulatory changes from the Texas REALTOR® perspective.

Need a regular session refresher?
The regular session of the 85th Texas Legislature had several important successes for Texas real estate consumers, including enhanced disclosures, prohibitions on fees, and a way for more homeowners to access the equity in their homes.

Read a recap on the Advice for REALTORS® blog or in the July issue of Texas REALTOR® magazine.

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3 Responses to Why TAR is back at the Texas Capitol

  1. Gerald Waldon says:

    I certainly hope we see some relief on school taxes and property taxes.
    The emphasis on education is lost on most public school systems. They seem to be more interested in new buildings and football fields as well as too much expense on administration. 75% to 80% of school budgets are spent on teacher and administrative individuals; not to mention the over abundance of coaches.
    The property owners carry the load on financing everything from schools to small towns to roads and more.
    I would love to see a small consumer tax that would hit everyone’s pocket.


  2. Gayle says:

    I certainly hope TAR recognizes the importance of local government, local regulations reasons tree preservation ordinances are critical. To support the Govenor is to support the developers who prefer to doze every tree down and pay a pittance of a fee. If Developers could be trusted to do right by the land, planning around heritage and groves of trees, such regulation migbt not be needed.
    But they have proven they cannot.


  3. William Bordelon says:

    As a long time TAR member I have real doubt about TAR efforts to do ANYTHING about lowering the property taxes for HOMEOWNERS in TEXAS. TAR seems more concerned about developers than the Homeowner. I can not recall any substantial suggestion TAR has ever put forth. Frankly it has just been lip service. And please spare me the Texas WAY talk ..I can trace my Texas roots back to the original Spanish settlers so I know what I speak.

    Regarding annexation how will TAR address the issue regarding encroachment upon military bases that very well could force a much needed base located in Texas to close and relocate? What is TAR doing to address this issue?

    Trees? Come on guys. A home owner IS NOT restricted from cutting a tree down only developers. How shortsighted TAR is to allow a developer to clear cut tracts of land when the end result is increased storm water run off and lowers the value of the finished product to the consumer? Not to mention the lowering of nearby property values. Time was developers could buy an old farm field and build on a flat nondescript tract of land…that was years ago. Consumers deserve better
    …perhaps TAR should consider the Buyer and not the developer. And frankly the developer should get more creative with their overall development plans

    William J Bordelon


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