Controversies

Incestuous county boards preside over rising Texas tax bills

If your property taxes stink in Texas, they stink from the top down.

By state law, county appraisal districts (CADs) are tasked to do one thing: set the property values that raise revenue for local taxing agencies.

Headed by boards of directors, CADs are bureaucratically opaque, institutionally autonomous and fundamentally incestuous bodies with no effective public oversight.

County boards are composed of the elected local tax assessor-collector and a set of directors named by the very local government agencies that depend on tax proceeds from property appraisals.

See a conflict of interest there? State Sen. Paul Bettencourt and state Rep. Dade Phelan do.

Seeking to democratize the captive CADs, Bettencourt, R-Houston, proposes mandating that all directors be elected officials within their respective counties.

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