AUSTIN, Texas -- A measure meant to slow the growth of Texans’ property tax bills has been signed into law.
Gov. Greg Abbott gave his stamp of approval to an expansive reform bill Wednesday.
Senate Bill 2 requires many cities, counties and other taxing units to hold an election if they wish to raise 3.5 percent more property tax revenue than the previous year.
Robert Mayfield owns Wally’s Burger Express, which has been in business since 1974. The bill signing ceremony took place at his burger joint. He said over the past couple of years, he's been concerned he'd have to shut down the family business due to rising property taxes.
"From 2016 to the present, our taxes are up at Wally's 80%. 80%, I mean, that's just not sustainable," Mayfield said.
"The property taxes are imposing on businesses like Wally's Burgers as well as homeowners across the state of Texas," said Gov. Abbott.
City and county leaders have repeatedly expressed concern about the 3.5% limit, saying it would hamper their ability to provide public safety and other local services.
But lawmakers said it's about giving taxpayers a voice.
House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, said cities and counties should follow the rules of what’s laid out in the law.
"They have the tools available to get the revenues that they need, and they better use them," Bonnen said. "They better not create other mechanisms so that we go back to a hidden, complicated process of taxing Texans."
Senate bill 2 also requires taxing units to post their budgets and tax rates online. That's meant to make the process more transparent and easier for taxpayers to understand.
“The untold story of this bill is that it’s going to become much easier for you and I as property owners to look and see who is proposing to raise our taxes that we pay,” said Dale Craymer, president of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association.
Click the video link above to watch our full interview with Craymer.