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  S.B. No. 1760
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to the transparent and equitable application of ad valorem
  tax procedures.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 1.111, Tax Code, is amended by adding
  Subsection (a-1) to read as follows:
         (a-1)  A lessee designated by a property owner as the owner's
  agent under Subsection (a) may, subject to the property owner's
  approval, designate a person to act as the lessee's agent for any
  purpose under this title for which the lessee is authorized to act
  on behalf of the owner in connection with the owner or the owner's
  property. An agent designated by a lessee under this subsection has
  the same authority and is subject to the same limitations as an
  agent designated by a property owner under Subsection (a).
         SECTION 2.  Section 5.07, Tax Code, is amended by adding
  Subsections (d) and (e) to read as follows:
         (d)  A property tax form that requires a signature may be
  signed by means of an electronically captured handwritten
  signature.
         (e)  A property tax form is not invalid or unenforceable
  solely because the form is a photocopy, facsimile, or electronic
  copy of the original.
         SECTION 3.  Chapter 5, Tax Code, is amended by adding Section
  5.091 to read as follows:
         Sec. 5.091.  STATEWIDE LIST OF TAX RATES.  (a)  Each year the
  comptroller shall prepare a list that includes the total tax rate
  imposed by each taxing unit in this state, other than a school
  district, if the tax rate is reported to the comptroller, for the
  year preceding the year in which the list is prepared. The
  comptroller shall list the tax rates in descending order.
         (b)  Not later than December 31 of each year, the comptroller
  shall publish on the comptroller's Internet website the list
  required by Subsection (a).
         SECTION 4.  Section 11.431(b), Tax Code, is amended to read
  as follows:
         (b)  If a late application is approved after approval of the
  appraisal records by the appraisal review board, the chief
  appraiser shall notify the collector for each unit in which the
  residence is located. The collector shall deduct from the person's
  tax bill the amount of tax imposed on the exempted amount if the tax
  has not been paid. If the tax has been paid, the collector shall
  refund the amount of tax imposed on the exempted amount.  A person
  is not required to apply for a refund under this subsection to
  receive the refund.
         SECTION 5.  Section 26.05(b), Tax Code, is amended to read as
  follows:
         (b)  A taxing unit may not impose property taxes in any year
  until the governing body has adopted a tax rate for that year, and
  the annual tax rate must be set by ordinance, resolution, or order,
  depending on the method prescribed by law for adoption of a law by
  the governing body. The vote on the ordinance, resolution, or order
  setting the tax rate must be separate from the vote adopting the
  budget.  For a taxing unit other than a school district, the [The]
  vote on the ordinance, resolution, or order setting a tax rate that
  exceeds the effective tax rate must be a record vote, and at least
  60 percent of the members of the governing body must vote in favor
  of the ordinance, resolution, or order.  For a school district, the
  vote on the ordinance, resolution, or order setting a tax rate that
  exceeds the sum of the effective maintenance and operations tax
  rate of the district as determined under Section 26.08(i) and the
  district's current debt rate must be a record vote, and at least 60
  percent of the members of the governing body must vote in favor of
  the ordinance, resolution, or order. A motion to adopt an
  ordinance, resolution, or order setting a tax rate that exceeds the
  effective tax rate must be made in the following form:  "I move that
  the property tax rate be increased by the adoption of a tax rate of
  (specify tax rate), which is effectively a (insert percentage by
  which the proposed tax rate exceeds the effective tax rate) percent
  increase in the tax rate."  If the ordinance, resolution, or order
  sets a tax rate that, if applied to the total taxable value, will
  impose an amount of taxes to fund maintenance and operation
  expenditures of the taxing unit that exceeds the amount of taxes
  imposed for that purpose in the preceding year, the taxing unit
  must:
               (1)  include in the ordinance, resolution, or order in
  type larger than the type used in any other portion of the document:
                     (A)  the following statement:  "THIS TAX RATE WILL
  RAISE MORE TAXES FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS THAN LAST YEAR'S
  TAX RATE."; and
                     (B)  if the tax rate exceeds the effective
  maintenance and operations rate, the following statement:  "THE TAX
  RATE WILL EFFECTIVELY BE RAISED BY (INSERT PERCENTAGE BY WHICH THE
  TAX RATE EXCEEDS THE EFFECTIVE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS RATE)
  PERCENT AND WILL RAISE TAXES FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS ON A
  $100,000 HOME BY APPROXIMATELY $(Insert amount)."; and
               (2)  include on the home page of any Internet website
  operated by the unit:
                     (A)  the following statement:  "(Insert name of
  unit) ADOPTED A TAX RATE THAT WILL RAISE MORE TAXES FOR MAINTENANCE
  AND OPERATIONS THAN LAST YEAR'S TAX RATE"; and
                     (B)  if the tax rate exceeds the effective
  maintenance and operations rate, the following statement:  "THE TAX
  RATE WILL EFFECTIVELY BE RAISED BY (INSERT PERCENTAGE BY WHICH THE
  TAX RATE EXCEEDS THE EFFECTIVE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS RATE)
  PERCENT AND WILL RAISE TAXES FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS ON A
  $100,000 HOME BY APPROXIMATELY $(Insert amount)."
         SECTION 6.  Section 26.06(d), Tax Code, is amended to read as
  follows:
         (d)  At the public hearings the governing body shall announce
  the date, time, and place of the meeting at which it will vote on the
  proposed tax rate.  After each hearing the governing body shall
  give notice of the meeting at which it will vote on the proposed tax
  rate and the notice shall be in the same form as prescribed by
  Subsections (b) and (c), except that it must state the following:
  "NOTICE OF TAX REVENUE INCREASE
         "The (name of the taxing unit) conducted public hearings on
  (date of first hearing) and (date of second hearing) on a proposal
  to increase the total tax revenues of the (name of the taxing unit)
  from properties on the tax roll in the preceding year by (percentage
  by which proposed tax rate exceeds lower of rollback tax rate or
  effective tax rate calculated under this chapter) percent.
         "The total tax revenue proposed to be raised last year at last
  year's tax rate of (insert tax rate for the preceding year) for each
  $100 of taxable value was (insert total amount of taxes imposed in
  the preceding year).
         "The total tax revenue proposed to be raised this year at the
  proposed tax rate of (insert proposed tax rate) for each $100 of
  taxable value, excluding tax revenue to be raised from new property
  added to the tax roll this year, is (insert amount computed by
  multiplying proposed tax rate by the difference between current
  total value and new property value).
         "The total tax revenue proposed to be raised this year at the
  proposed tax rate of (insert proposed tax rate) for each $100 of
  taxable value, including tax revenue to be raised from new property
  added to the tax roll this year, is (insert amount computed by
  multiplying proposed tax rate by current total value).
         "The (governing body of the taxing unit) is scheduled to vote
  on the tax rate that will result in that tax increase at a public
  meeting to be held on (date of meeting) at (location of meeting,
  including mailing address) at (time of meeting).
         "The (governing body of the taxing unit) proposes to use the
  increase in total tax revenue for the purpose of (description of
  purpose of increase)."
         SECTION 7.  Section 26.15(f), Tax Code, is amended to read as
  follows:
         (f)  If a correction that decreases the tax liability of a
  property owner is made after the owner has paid the tax, the taxing
  unit shall refund to the property owner the difference between the
  tax paid and the tax legally due, except as provided by Section
  25.25(n).  A property owner is not required to apply for a refund
  under this subsection to receive the refund.
         SECTION 8.  Section 26.08(b), Tax Code, is amended to read as
  follows:
         (b)  The governing body shall order that the election be held
  in the school district on a date not less than 30 or more than 90
  days after the day on which it adopted the tax rate. Section
  41.001, Election Code, does not apply to the election unless a date
  specified by that section falls within the time permitted by this
  section. At the election, the ballots shall be prepared to permit
  voting for or against the proposition: "Approving the ad valorem
  tax rate of $_____ per $100 valuation in (name of school district)
  for the current year, a rate that is $_____ higher per $100
  valuation than the school district rollback tax rate, for the
  purpose of (description of purpose of increase)." The ballot
  proposition must include the adopted tax rate and the difference
  between that rate and the rollback tax rate in the appropriate
  places.
         SECTION 9.  Section 42.23, Tax Code, is amended by adding
  Subsection (i) to read as follows:
         (i)  If an appraisal district employee testifies as to the
  value of real property in an appeal under Section 42.25 or 42.26,
  the court may give preference to an employee who is a person
  authorized to perform an appraisal of real estate under Section
  1103.201, Occupations Code.
         SECTION 10.  Section 42.43(b), Tax Code, is amended to read
  as follows:
         (b)  For a refund made under this section, the taxing unit
  shall include with the refund interest on the amount refunded
  calculated at an annual rate of 9.5 [that is equal to the sum of two
  percent and the most recent prime rate quoted and published by the
  Federal Reserve Board as of the first day of the month in which the
  refund is made, but not more than a total of eight] percent,
  calculated from the delinquency date for the taxes until the date
  the refund is made.
         SECTION 11.  Sections 140.010(e) and (f), Local Government
  Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (e)  A county or municipality that proposes a property tax
  rate that exceeds the lower of the effective tax rate or the
  rollback tax rate shall provide the following notice:
  "NOTICE OF (INSERT CURRENT TAX YEAR) TAX YEAR PROPOSED PROPERTY TAX
  RATE FOR (INSERT NAME OF COUNTY OR MUNICIPALITY)
  "A tax rate of $_____ per $100 valuation has been proposed for
  adoption by the governing body of (insert name of county or
  municipality).  This rate exceeds the lower of the effective or
  rollback tax rate, and state law requires that two public hearings
  be held by the governing body before adopting the proposed tax rate.
  The governing body of (insert name of county or municipality)
  proposes to use revenue attributable to the tax rate increase for
  the purpose of (description of purpose of increase).
         PROPOSED TAX RATE$______ per $100         
         PRECEDING YEAR'S TAX RATE$______ per $100         
         EFFECTIVE TAX RATE$______ per $100         
         ROLLBACK TAX RATE$______ per $100         
  "The effective tax rate is the total tax rate needed to raise the
  same amount of property tax revenue for (insert name of county or
  municipality) from the same properties in both the (insert
  preceding tax year) tax year and the (insert current tax year) tax
  year.
  "The rollback tax rate is the highest tax rate that (insert name of
  county or municipality) may adopt before voters are entitled to
  petition for an election to limit the rate that may be approved to
  the rollback rate.
  "YOUR TAXES OWED UNDER ANY OF THE ABOVE RATES CAN BE CALCULATED AS
  FOLLOWS:
  property tax amount = (rate) x (taxable value of your property) /
  100
  "For assistance or detailed information about tax calculations,
  please contact:
         (insert name of county or municipal tax assessor-collector)
         (insert name of county or municipality) tax
  assessor-collector
         (insert address)
         (insert telephone number)
         (insert e-mail address)
         (insert Internet website address, if applicable)
  "You are urged to attend and express your views at the following
  public hearings on the proposed tax rate:
         First Hearing:  (insert date and time) at (insert location of
  meeting).
         Second Hearing:  (insert date and time) at (insert location
  of meeting)."
         (f)  A county or municipality shall:
               (1)  provide the notice required by Subsection (d) or
  (e), as applicable, not later than the later of September 1 or the
  30th day after the first date that the taxing unit has received each
  applicable certified appraisal roll by:
                     (A)  publishing the notice in a newspaper having
  general circulation in:
                           (i)  the county, in the case of notice
  published by a county; or
                           (ii)  the county in which the municipality
  is located or primarily located, in the case of notice published by
  a municipality; or
                     (B)  mailing the notice to each property owner in:
                           (i)  the county, in the case of notice
  provided by a county; or
                           (ii)  the municipality, in the case of
  notice provided by a municipality; and
               (2)  post the notice on the Internet website of the
  county or municipality, if applicable, beginning not later than the
  later of September 1 or the 30th day after the first date that the
  taxing unit has received each applicable certified appraisal roll
  and continuing until the county or municipality adopts a tax rate.
         SECTION 12.  Subchapter H, Chapter 49, Water Code, is
  amended by adding Section 49.2361 to read as follows:
         Sec. 49.2361.  ADDITIONAL NOTICE FOR CERTAIN TAX INCREASES.
  If a district proposes to adopt a combined tax rate that would
  authorize the qualified voters of the district by petition to
  require a rollback election to be held in the district, the notice
  required by Section 49.236 must include a description of the
  purpose of the proposed tax increase.
         SECTION 13.  The changes in law made by this Act apply only
  to an ad valorem tax year that begins on or after the effective date
  of this Act.
         SECTION 14.  (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (b) of this
  section, this Act takes effect January 1, 2016.
         (b)  Section 42.23(i), Tax Code, as added by this Act, takes
  effect January 1, 2020.
 
 
 
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1760 passed the Senate on
  April 30, 2015, by the following vote: Yeas 24, Nays 7; and that
  the Senate concurred in House amendments on May 27, 2015, by the
  following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1760 passed the House, with
  amendments, on May 22, 2015, by the following vote: Yeas 138,
  Nays 1, three present not voting.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
 
  Approved:
 
  ______________________________ 
              Date
 
 
  ______________________________ 
            Governor