Property Tax Vote Set For Tuesday

County may challenge commercial property tax roll

Margaret Gomez
Margaret Gomez (by John Anderson)

Travis County Commissioners are scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to challenge this year’s commercial property tax roll. The item is set for 10:15am.

Commissioner Margaret Gomez says she won’t be at Tuesday’s meeting but if she were she’d be casting a no vote.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, her birthday, Gomez said she opposes filing a challenge petition with the Travis Central Appraisal District.

Gomez is in South Padre Island this week attending a South Texas County Judges and Commissioners Conference.

Last week, the commissioners met in closed session with attorneys to discuss the possibility of challenging the appraisal roll in response to protests from homeowners over their tax bills this year. A May 20 community forum on property taxes drew an overflow crowd of people concerned about getting priced out of their homes.

Homeowners are increasingly being asked to pay more in property taxes under a state law that tilts in favor of large commercial property owners. Under this system, Texas has lost an estimated $4 billion over the past five years, according to Real Values for Texas, a statewide grassroots campaign calling for Legislative reforms to state property tax laws.

After last week’s lengthy executive session, County Judge Sam Biscoe said commissioners would delay a decision pending answers to legal questions. Biscoe also said the commission would receive public testimony before voting on Tuesday’s item.

In her Facebook post Sunday, Gomez said the commissioners have several alternative options other than filing a formal protest with the appraisal district. She said the county could work collaboratively with the appraisal district, the state Comptroller’s Office, and the Legislature to make permanent changes to the tax code. (Commissioners made similar commitments in 2009 as an alternative to challenging the commercial property tax roll, yet little progress appeared to be made.)

“The other remedy is for the City of Austin to grant a homestead exemption to its homeowners. It is no longer a nice thing to do but a necessary thing to do to help Austin families, especially long-time residents, survive in Austin. That vote can be made any Thursday that they post it on their agenda. I'm pulling for them to do this. Talk about a fantastic birthday present this year! I shall return!”

Council Member Kathie Tovo has several property tax-related proposals on Thursday’s Council agenda, but homestead exemption isn’t on the list. Tovo proposes that the city file a challenge petition with the Appraisal Review Board, designate property tax reform as a priority on the city’s 2015 legislative agenda, and develop a policy relating to property tax protests by companies that receive economic incentives from the city.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More County Commissioners
Travillion Defeats Sampson
Travillion Defeats Sampson
Primary run-offs close a handful of local and state races

Michael King, May 25, 2016

Vote Delayed on Property Tax Protest
Vote Delayed on Property Tax Protest
Commissioners may act June 17 on commercial appraisal roll

Amy Smith, June 2, 2014

More by Amy Smith
The Work Matters
The Work Matters
A look back at some of our most impactful reporting

Sept. 3, 2021

Well-Behaved? Let's Assume Not.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story
Barbara Leaming's new biography makes the case that Jackie O suffered from PTSD

Nov. 28, 2014


County Commissioners, property taxes, commercial property owners, homeowners, Margarez Gomez

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle