A quiet but important victory for Texas taxpayers – by Mark Lehman

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We finally have some good news for taxpayers.

Last August, with great fanfare and intense media coverage, the City of Austin filed a lawsuit against the Travis County Central Appraisal District in an attempt to rewrite Texas law regarding the state’s property tax system, which says all taxpayers must be treated in an “equal and uniform” manner. To some, this municipal action was nothing more than an attempt to circumvent Texas law and increase tax revenue- putting all property owners at risk of paying higher taxes-with no input from taxpayers.

If successful, this lawsuit would set a precedent where one city’s dissatisfaction with the state legislative process would allow it to use the courts to override the will of the Texas Legislature. This type of action would cause massive gridlock, a blatant lack of transparency, and a meltdown of the separation of powers between state and local governmental entities.

Last Friday, with very little media attention, a judge dismissed the case in favor of the Texas Association of Realtors and other property owners challenging the suit. In doing so, the judge made it clear that no city had the necessary standing to challenge the constitutionality of the state’s property tax system.

This small but important action proves in Texas, when it comes to your pocketbook, there are plenty of good people and organizations, like the Texas Association of Realtors, who will fight and win for you.

Mark Lehman is vice president of Governmental Affairs at the Texas Association of REALTORS®.

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