AUSTIN -- A rising number of commercial owners are successfully challenging their property valuations and driving down their tax bill, putting a greater burden on Texas homeowners as the tax base shrinks.
The Austin American-Statesman reports Texas is one of four states that do not require the disclosure of property sale prices, making it difficult to assess a fair market value.
Also, a law adopted by the Legislature a decade ago allows appraisals to be brought down to the median value of a comparable property. As the value of higher-priced properties is lowered, so is the median, continually eroding the tax base.
Since 2000 the property tax burden on homeowners statewide has grown from 45 percent to 54 percent, while the share paid by commercial and industrial owners has slipped to under 20 percent.