Groups says spiking property values could push businesses out of Houston, state

Erin Mulvaney | Chron.com

The Texas Building Owners and Managers Association say “unpredictable and uncontrolled” increases in property values put significant  burdens on the state’s businesses and could lead to many leaving Houston to avoid the appraisals.

The group has launched a statewide initiative “Taxed out of Town” to push for appraisal reform, according to a recent statement from the advocacy organization, which represents commercial properties in Texas.

“This issue affects everyone, not just commercial real estate. Commercial property taxes are paid by the businesses that lease space in Texas,” said Tammy Betancourt, executive vice president of the group’s Houston chapter. “Higher commercial property taxes lead to increased operating costs for Texas business owners, rents for tenants, and costs for goods and services.”

The group says that in some parts of Houston, property valuations have increased by more than 100 percent in the last two years.  In 2013, commercial properties’ valuations across the city increased 53 percent on average and another 18 percent in 2014.  Similar double-digit increases have occurred around the state. The group says these rates have risen not just sharply but erratically and small businesses have difficulty planning for the future.

“Texas takes pride in being pro-business, but the current property appraisal process is anything but. If runaway increases in commercial property valuations are allowed to continue to burden Texas’ businesses, the end resultwill be stalled local growth, decreased job creation, and local businesses and investors looking elsewhere to do business,”  Betancourt said.

The group hopes appraisal reform and tax relief will be a key issue of the upcoming Legislature session.
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