In the coming weeks, the Texas Legislature will consider a proposal that would limit annual increases in property taxes by 3.5% to 4%, a move that was examined during the Texas Association of Campground Owners’ (TACO) annual Spring Meeting being held at the Lake Conroe/Houston North KOA Holiday in Montgomery, Texas.
But, according to a press release, any tax legislation that’s approved by the legislature will still require the support of a majority of Texas voters in the November election, according to TACO executive director and CEO Brian Schaeffer.
“The new property tax rollback will be voted on in November,” said Schaeffer, who briefed Texas park operators during a legislative briefing Tuesday (April 23) afternoon that kicked off day one of the Spring Meeting. Schaeffer, who joined TACO’s longtime legislative consultant, Ron Hinkle, in providing the legislative update, said property taxes have become a big issue in Texas in recent years, affecting business and residential property owners alike.
“At our Spring Meeting, we had probably 10 campgrounds that have had their taxes increase by more than 50 percent and five campgrounds by over 100% within the past three years,” he said, adding that one park saw its taxes jump by 400%.
TACO has been encouraging its members to hire a tax mitigation company, such as Dallas-based P.E. Pennington & Co Inc. to fight to reduce their property taxes.
“We are encouraging all of our members to protest (property tax increases),” Schaeffer said. “If you protest, whatever the outcome is, your taxes are frozen for two years. We think the protest is the way to go.”
Schaeffer added that the more businesses and residents contest their local property tax increases, the less likely local jurisdictions will fight, simply because of the logjam created by such protests.
The Texas Legislature is also expected to vote on a new law in the coming weeks that would ban public schools from starting their annual school sessions earlier than the third Monday of August.
Early school start dates hurt the tourism industry, not only by shortening the amount of time families have available to take vacations, but by limiting the amount of time high school students can work at campgrounds, RV parks and other tourist venues.