Property taxes in Texas are a lot like dealing with a fresh wound.

Every year, we vent our rage because our property tax bills go up. Lately, they have gone up a lot. We’re wounded yet again.

But serious, fundamental change isn’t happening. Why? Because we’re underthinking the problem and rushing to find a Band-Aid for the wound.
Caps on annual increases and sales price disclosure on commercial properties, for example, ignore the heart of the problem — the appraisal system and the appraisal review boards (ARBs).

The ARBs play a critical role. When a property owner isn’t satisfied with the appraised value and hasn’t been able to negotiate an acceptable amount with the appraisal district, the review board is the next step.

As an attorney who has represented hundreds of property owners in appraisal review hearings, I can tell you firsthand that many ARB members simply are not qualified to handle complex residential or commercial valuations. Setting a value on a $75,000 condo is in no way comparable to doing so on an $80-million commercial property. Complex valuations should be handled by qualified appraisers or experts.