‘Bring the power of the Digital Age to the property tax process,’ says Baker Institute expert


Jeff Falk

‘Bring the power of the Digital Age to the property tax process,’ says Baker Institute expert

HOUSTON – (Feb. 6, 2019) – Texas state lawmakers have introduced legislation to bring more property owners into the process of setting tax rates and giving taxpayers better notice about their proposed rates.

The Texas Senate chamber. Credit: 123RF.com/Rice University

Tax expert Jennifer Rabb from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy provided testimony on the legislation before the Texas Senate Committee on Property Tax at the state Capitol today. She is available to discuss the issues involved with the media.

Rabb, who is the director and fellow of the McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth and previously served as a tax policy adviser in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, said there are three ways to improve the process:

  • “Eliminate from appraisal notices the estimated property tax levy based on the current year’s assessed value and the prior year’s tax rate, and thereby help property owners understand that the appraisal process is separate and distinct from the tax rate process.
  • “Bring the power of the Digital Age to the property tax process by creating an individualized, timely, electronic tax rate notice that contains the actual proposed tax rate and effective tax rate, applied to the taxable value of the individual owner’s property. The tax rate notice would be analogous to the appraisal notice under current law in that it would deliver accurate, customized information to property owners about how the tax rates proposed by their local governments would affect their property tax bill.
  • “Create a system for property owners to provide feedback electronically to local elected officials on the proposed tax rate, and thereby transform the process for opposing property tax increases from a fragmented, time-consuming process requiring a community effort to a consolidated, streamlined process that every property owner could undertake independently and conveniently.”


For more information or to schedule an interview with Rabb, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775. The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media.

Related materials:

Rabb bio: www.bakerinstitute.org/experts/jennifer-rabb

Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInstitute.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top three university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.