The Senate Finance Committee passed SB 2 Tuesday after a day of testimoney from both sides. That bill would reduce the maximum increase allowed in taxes on individual properties, but remove some control from local taxing authorities.
SB 2 will fight the statewide rise in property tax bills by increasing accountability and making it easier for taxpayers to challenge higher tax rates through ratfication elections; but many were against the bill, including some in Nueces County.
Nueces County Commissioner John Marez was in Austin to attend the public hearing on SB 2. He said property taxes are used for police, firefighters, hospitals, parks, libraries and community colleges.
"We understand how important it is," Marez said. "People feel that their taxes are too much. Right now a lot of people feel that way, but in the end you see services are being provided."
HB 15, a companion bill, would place a four-percent cap on property taxes.
Jerry Sansing, the president of the Corpus Christi Taxpayers Association, said he has questions about both bills.
"My first inclination is to see what they can do and then we can always put the pressure on to have it reversed if it doesn't work out for the betterment of the taxpayers," Sansing said.
Sansing said if the bill reduces the hurdles taxpayers have to go through to appeal an assessment, that might be something he would support.
"If the State can step in and do something about it, I'm all for it, but if it's going to be more of the same then I'd have reservations about it," Sansing said.
SB 2 passed in a 9-5 vote after heated testimony from first responders and local officials Tuesday. It now goes to the House for a final vote.