When the 81st Regular Session began, it had important business to conduct, most notably revision and continuation of the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Insurance. Under the Sunset Statutes, these agencies will be abolished unless continued by the Legislature. As the 140 days allowed by the Constitution expired, the Legislature failed to address these agencies and several other important issues. A special session seems certain.
The Legislature did address many issues. These bills are currently awaiting approval or veto by the governor. The next few articles will address these bills in detail. Fortunately, the Legislature did not adopt any increased revenue caps, and most unfunded mandates were defeated.
Unfortunately, legislation to address the systematic under-appraisal of oil and gas properties failed to obtain a vote in the House of Representatives in the final days. Please urge the governor, lt. governor, and speaker to address this important issue in the special session. Below is a sample resolution that can be adopted. Please send a copy to Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, Speaker Straus, your legislators and me.
UNDER-VALUATION OF OIL AND GAS PROPERTIES
WHEREAS, in 2007 the Texas Legislature adopted a severance tax-based interpretation of the Texas Tax Code, Sec. 23.175 (commonly known as the market condition factor) to be applied to the valuation of oil and gas properties in the State of Texas; and
WHEREAS, the Texas State Comptroller’s severance tax-based estimate of the market condition factor results in the under-valuation of oil and gas property to the detriment of all other taxpayers; and
WHEREAS, many counties receive the vast majority of their tax revenues from the county’s oil and gas values; and
WHEREAS, these counties will be adversely and catastrophically affected by the market condition factor as interpreted by the Texas Comptroller’s office; and
WHEREAS, these counties will be forced to underfund essential county government services or shift approximately $300 million in taxes to other taxpayers;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that _____________________________County requests that Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, and Speaker Straus support legislation in a special session to change or repeal Texas Tax Code Sec. 23.175 to bring all Texas taxpayers into an equitable position.
READ AND ADOPTED this _________ day of ____________, 2009.