by Cary Cheshire
Dallas taxpayers dodged a $100 million bullet last week as the Dallas ISD board of trustees rejected a 13-cent tax increase. Though a majority of the trustees supported the measure, the 5-4 vote wasn’t enough thanks to a lawmaker from Houston.
Few in the Texas Legislature are more knowledgeable on the topic of property taxes than State Sen.Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), who served as the Tax Assessor-Collector of Harris County for a decade before opening up a property tax consulting business. After establishing Bettencourt Tax Advisors LLC, Bettencourt ran for and won the Texas Senate seat vacated by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
In his first year in the Legislature, Bettencourt fought at the forefront for property tax relief but was stymied on his bolder ideas for reform.
Though defeated on his own major reform legislation, Bettencourt still scored a significant victory by placing an amendment on another bill to require a super-majority, 60 percent voting threshold for local taxing units to assess property tax increases in their jurisdictions.
It was that change in the law that blocked the tax increase.