new laws

More than 800 new laws go into effect in Texas today, thanks to the most recent legislative session. They range from everything to legalizing brass knuckles and lemonade stands to making porch piracy a felony, and even a new law impacting sellers disclosures for homes in floodplains.

Chances are, the bulk of the 800 new laws won’t have a hugely noticeable impact on day-to-day living in Texas. But we did pick five real estate-related highlights. (more…)

property taxAlmost a year after voters approved a 13-cent property tax hike in a Tax Ratification Election, the Dallas ISD board of trustees will discuss reducing the rate this Thursday.

In November, voters approved raising the rate from $1.04 to $1.17, the first increase since 2008. The agenda for Thursday’s regular meeting includes discussion of reducing the rate to about $1.06 per $100 valuation. 

Specifically, the measure would set the maintenance and operation tax rate at $1.068350, and the debt service tax rate at 242035 cents, which winds up being about $1.31 per $100 valuation, a 3.26 percent decrease in the total tax rate.

“We appreciate the tax payers helping us out when we needed you and the state leg. for finance reform,” said trustee Miguel Solis on Twitter. “Proud to lower those taxes.”

In May, the Texas legislature passed sweeping education funding reform, which was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott with much pomp and circumstance. All 139 House members and all 30 state senators voted to approve House Bill 3, which included $6.5 billion in public education funding and teacher pay increases, and $5.1 billion to lower school district taxes. (more…)

NeaveShe’s made a name for being an effective legislator since beginning her career in the Texas legislature after winning against Kenneth Sheets in 2016, but State Rep. Victoria Neave is getting some attention now for something entirely different — her delinquent property taxes.

Neave represents District 107, which includes parts of East Dallas and Mesquite.

We reported earlier this year that Neave owed Dallas County for back taxes on her Abrams Road property, and Richardson ISD later filed documentation that Neave owed that entity almost $24,000, bringing her total delinquent tab to more than $50,000. 

Now it seems the property, located at 8580 Abrams Road, may be sold on the Dallas County courthouse steps in October, according to the notice of trustees sale. (more…)

codeFrom staff reports

Thinking about building a new pool? You may find some new hoops to jump through in the next couple of years, thanks to a new bill signed into law in Texas.

The Texas legislature passed HB 2858 in the last legislative session. The bill allows municipalities in the state to require model standards for building, remodeling and repairing pools and spas.

The legislature adopted the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC), which was developed by the International Code Council in partnership with the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance (formerly the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals and the National Swimming Pool Foundation). (more…)

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Gov. Greg Abbott, and Texas Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen announced both chambers of the state legislature had come to an agreement on a sweeping school finance and property tax relief bill.

Squeaking in just before May 27 and sine die, lawmakers in the state House and Senate passed a school finance bill that will provide raises for teachers, pre-K, and property tax relief.

The final OK comes a day after Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced that the two chambers had managed to come to a compromise on competing bills to hammer out school finance and property tax relief measures.

“We would not be here today, making the announcement we are about to make, without the tireless efforts of the members of the Texas House and Senate,” Abbott told reporters gathered at the Governor’s Mansion Thursday. All three had promised at the beginning of the legislative session that the focus would be on school finance reform and property tax relief.

“We’re here to tell you we’ve been all together and we’ve stayed all together,” Bonnen said. “We didn’t get here without being a team.” (more…)

NeaveOn the heels of the revelation that Dallas County is suing State Rep. Victoria Neave for more than $26,000 in late property taxes on her Abrams Road home, Richardson ISD has filed documentation that would bring Neave’s total delinquent tax tab to more than $50,000.

The district filed an intervening motion March 1 that added its $23,948.58 to Neave’s previously reported $26,760.73 the county already named in the suit filed on Feb. 28.

The potential for the intervention was mentioned in the original suit, which said, in part, that Richardson would likely also join as a party to the suit, “because it may have a claim for delinquent taxes against all or part of the same property.”

Neave represents District 107, which includes parts of East Dallas and Mesquite. (more…)

State Rep. Dennis Bonnen took the gavel as Speaker of the House yesterday, and asked for cooperation across the aisles (Photo courtesy Rep. Bonnen’s Facebook page).

Bathrooms? That’s so 2017. The new hot legislative priorities lighting up Austin this legislative session are school finance and property taxes.

Think I’m kidding? New House Speaker Dennis Bonnen put it on a cup — actually, every cup in the Senate lounge is now emblazoned with “School Finance Reform, The Time Is Now.”

The session gaveled in knowing already that state Comptroller Glenn Hegar had told them that they would have about 8.1 percent more in funding available for public programs like schools and healthcare in the next two years, for about a $119.1 billion state budget. But he also cautioned legislators that they wouldn’t be able to make it rain — oil prices are falling and the U.S. economy is uncertain, leaving any prognostication as to how revenue will look a bit muddled.

But one couldn’t help but notice a sense of cooperation in both houses of the state legislature, one not generally felt in the last session, where Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick embarked on a much-lamented quest for passage of a bathroom bill and school vouchers, both of which failed.

Bonnen, in his address Tuesday, made a plea for more bipartisanship.

“In a state as big and diverse as Texas, there are plenty of ideas about what we should do on any one issue and these ideas often point in different directions,” Bonnen said. “It’s our job to reconcile the differences.”

The makeup of the two bodies is also different this time around. Democrats gained 12 seats in the house last November, with Republicans holding the Texas House with 83 seats to Democrats’ 67. In the Senate, there are 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats. Thanks to the three-fifths rule, a kill on an unpopular GOP bill like a bathroom bill would be just one Republican renegade away, unlike the last session, when the Democrats were outnumbered 20 to 10.

This pivot away from the unpopular bathroom bill, especially (Patrick even called it “settled” when asked about it Wednesday), bodes well for proponents of retooling public education finance, as well as property owners looking for relief from rising property taxes. (more…)

collier

Houston businessman and Democrat Mike Collier filed at 1 p.m. Monday to run against incumbent Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (Photo courtesy Mike Collier).

Mike Collier knows that there are people that care deeply about whether Texas stays red, turns blue, or goes purple — but it’s not his chief goal.

“My aspiration is political competition,” he said on a drive from Houston to Dallas last week. “I just want to see the end of this one-party system.”

Collier filed today to run as a Democrat against incumbent Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and said he knows that running for a statewide seat as anything other than a Republican can be seen to some as a bit quixotic.

But is it really? The Houston businessman may have seemed like a long shot when he first announced he was considering a run several months ago, but recent successes this month in other GOP stronghold areas has made the whole prospect less far-fetched.

Collier said his platform’s foundation is in two intersecting areas — public education and property taxes. For an hour, CandysDirt.com engaged in a question and answer session with the candidate. Below are some of his responses. (more…)