Property Protest

RECEIVED Mon., Aug. 10, 2020

Dear Editor,
    The pandemic appears to be destined for close to a ¼ million deaths in the USA. If you filled your property tax protest around "the May 15th" deadline but it was delayed a few days by the slower than normal US Post Office, you should be granted an exception. Despite the Governor Abbott conducting a lockdown, and reducing staff in Texas state government offices during the March to May timeframe, many tax payers were affected and got the “sorry, your protest is late.” Travis and Williamson County Property tax protests rose up until this year. The number of tax protests in Williamson Appraisal District increased by about 110%; from 29,770 in 2014 to 50,040 in 2018. Williamson County Appraisal District 2018 property tax protests include 39,630 residential and 18,410 commercial accounts. In 2019, Williamson County property tax protests increased to 55,000 (72% increase). However, for the 2020 tax protest year, the number of property tax protests in Williamson County for the first time in 3 years decreased to only 52,000, a decrease of 5%. The Williamson County ARB chair, Carol Frey, claims “The number of timely protests received demonstrated that it was still possible to meet the [sic] deadline despite the various local and state ordinances to shelter-in-place.” How can a tax chair innocently believe that the first decrease in property protests for the last three years during a national pandemic is “normal” and not a sign of a problem? So you probably want to complain, don’t you? Well, that’s too bad. There is no one to complain to, no oversight, and no appeal. Letters to the attorney general's office or the governor's office will get no responses. Texas citizens need to carefully consider the run-away Gestapo-like tactics and power of the Texas Property Tax Board system, which has no review and acts on whatever a lone individual tax chair decides. It doesn’t sound American and definitely doesn’t sound Texan.
Michael Barber
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