Question 1. Several cities across Texas have undertaken excessively restrictive measures on rental property in their communities in an effort to monitor landlords and generate local fee driven revenues through rental property. Some of these actions are registration of rental property and the inspection of rental property with permitting and other subsequent fees associated with these measures. Would you oppose such proposals to enact a rental registration or rental property inspection fee?
Further Explanation of Position: I believe inspections should be essentially complaint-driven. I have not seen a plan I would support for automatic inspections.
Question 2. Counties in Texas have various powers and duties related to regulating land use, regulating structures, platting and subdividing of land. Other border counties also are allowed to require water, sewer, and other utility service to residential property. Do you support a counties’ authority to have wholesale authority to regulate development through local rulemaking powers?
Further Explanation of Position: Counties are by nature rural, and it should be left to cities to have this broad rulemaking authority.
Question 3. County rulemaking powers have been used in very specific circumstances in some fast-growth areas of the Texas. Would you support voter approval to enact any new county rulemaking powers in specific cases?
Answer: YesFurther Explanation of Position: Vote of citizens allows for unique circumstances to be addressed openly and locally.
Question 4. While considering the relationship between local taxing jurisdictions (city, county or school) and the Central Appraisal District. What role do you feel the Chief Appraisal/ Central Appraisal District should be in budgeting process?
Answer: Staff should recommend the budget, but locally-elected officials must carefully review same, as well as reviewing recommended major changes from the Central Appraisal District board of governors.
Question 5. Currently, Texas has a 10% cap on the increase in Assessed Values for residential homesteads. Several proposals in the Texas Legislature would artificially cap property appraisals at 3% or 5% annually. The following is a two part question: A). Do you support an artificial lowering the cap on appraisals? Further, some of these proposals would allow local-option elections that would allow for appraisal caps on a local level. B). Would you support efforts to lower the appraisal cap at the local level?
A). Answer: No
B). Answer: Maybe – under limited circumstances
Further Explanation of Position: (B) If the financial integrity of local government is not jeopardized and value distortions are able to be corrected reasonably promptly so that the burden is not disproportionate over extended periods.
Question 6. Currently, local taxing jurisdictions have the ability to grant local property owners an exemption for their homesteads of up to $15,000. The following is a two part question: A). Do you favor the $15,000 local homestead exemption for your taxing jurisdiction as a way of providing property tax relief? B). If the legislature gave local taxing jurisdictions the option of increasing the $15,000 local homestead exemption, would you support such an increase?
A). Answer: Yes
B). Answer: Yes
Further Explanation of Position: (B) But only by local referendum, as this will cause taxes for non-homesteads to rise, and all citizens should weigh in on this.
Question 7. Currently, when a taxing jurisdiction other than a school district, increases its tax rate by more than 8%, the taxpayers’ only recourse is through a burdensome petitioning process. Would you support increased accountability to the public through automatic referendum on tax rates that increase by greater than 5%?
Answer: Under certain circumstances
Further Explanation of Position: Only if adjusted for inflation and other such factors (such as unfunded mandates from state and federal government, capital expenditures voted on by the public, etc.).
Question 8. Currently, the Texas Constitution permits condemnation of land for public use. Before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Kelo vs. New London, public use was understood to be for parks, roads, and other infrastructure. In light of this recent ruling allowing the taking of private property for economic development purposes, the scope of public use needed to be redefined. SB 7, recently passed during the second special session, attempts to protect private property from local governmental entities taking private property through the power of eminent domain for purposes of economic development. However, the bill is full of exceptions. The following is a two part question: A). Do you support the taking of private property through the powers of eminent domain for the purpose of economic development? B). Do you support a local governments taking of private property through powers of eminent domain and conveying that condemned property to another private sector entity or owner?
A). Answer: Very limited yes; generally no
B). Answer: NoFurther Explanation of Position: The “very limited” could be by public referendum or capital improvement bond vote of citizens . . . not just by Council . . . and, of course, only if full market value if paid. This is too close to preferentially treating one private use/owner over another arbitrarily.
Question 9. As local officials look for new ways to fund city and county services, other states have developed proposals to enact new local taxes, including a proposal that places a flat fee or percentage sales tax on all real estate transactions (a.k.a., “real estate transfer tax”). Would you support a transfer tax on real estate transactions of any dollar amount or percentage either locally or on the state level?
Answer: NoFurther Explanation of Position: This would have a dampening effect on real estate sales statewide . . . “killing the goose that laid our golden egg”.
Question 10. Recently, local title companies and REALTORS have encountered a new form of real estate transfer fee whereby developers or property owners place a deed restriction on property which requires a transfer fee to be paid to a designated entity or individual. The Texas Association of REALTORS was successful during the 80th Legislature in prohibiting these deed restrictions for private gain. However, homeowner’s associations and non-profits entities were not addressed. Would you support the Texas Association of REALTORS and your area’s local REALTOR association in opposing a developer or non-profit’s attempt at enacting such transfer fees established via a deed restriction?
Answer: YesFurther Explanation of Position: Absolutely! Sign me up to speak against it.