Why You Should Care About the May Appraisal District Elections

Tax Appraisal
Republicans want to defund public services using our tax system

By D'Angelo Colter, Hiba Faruqi, and Tatum Owens

Key Topics & Facts:

  • Senate Bill 2 changed our Appraisal District board makeup
  • This created an unnecessary hyperpartisan election
  • Protect public services by supporting qualified progressive candidates on May 4

Politicizing “Boring” Jobs

Last year, Republican lawmakers passed Senate Bill 2, which changed the process for adding members to Appraisal Districts’ Boards of Directors. For over 40 years, each county in Texas required local officials to appoint community members to these directorship boards. The new measure requires appraisal districts (counties) with populations over 75,000 (looking at you Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar, Travis, Collin, Denton, Fort Bend, Hidalgo, and El Paso Counties) to hold elections for three of the expanded nine member board, for the first time. These expanded Boards of Directors will then hire the county’s Chief Appraiser, who determines the annual property valuations based on market value - that ultimately determines tax rates. Those elected will also appoint those who settle disagreements between local property owners and their respective appraisal district, known as the Local Appraisal Review Board. This might sound beneficial at first glance, but it’s part of a strategic plan to undermine confidence in our local government by injecting politically personal values into civil positions with the overarching goal to defund public services like schools and public transportation.

Opportunities for Inequity

These county boards, once largely operated by experts and local leaders, will now be inflated to allow for partisanship and another unfunded election mandate. Although Republicans argued last session that having the elections in May will decrease the counties’ costs without state funds, Republicans also ironically and sadly expected low costs for low voter turnout. So, besides leaders like Governor Greg Abbott and State Senator Bettencourt expecting you won’t vote, what does this mean? It means Republicans will lower commercial property valuation like downtown offices and hotels and indirectly their wealthy friends’ properties who have more time and money for tax agents and property valuation protests. It also means you and our most disadvantaged neighbors foot the bill for a Republican guise while simultaneously eroding public education and other locally funded-community services. 

Electing Progressive Candidates

Your public services are on the line this election, so go out and vote! Even though this is a “non-partisan” issue, Texans can use this opportunity to elect qualified, progressive candidates and stomp out Republicans' long term goal of underfunding our public services altogether. 

Early voting starts on April 22nd and May 4th is Election Day. 

Appraisal District Candidates in May:

  • Certified Progressives Endorsed by Progress Texas: Dick Lavine, Jett Hanna, and Daniel Wang for Travis CAD Board
  • Certified Progressive Kendall Scudder for Dallas CAD Board, Place 2
  • Certified Progressive Jordan Villarreal for Denton CAD Board, Place 3

You can find out more about these positions, and highlighted expert candidates, on our Progress Texas Podcasts Happy Hour Episode 151, “The May Tax Appraisal Elections Are Actually Important!”