REOC San Antonio
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Kim_Gatley
Kim Gatley
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enior Vice President & Director of Research at REOC San Antonio

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2009 Texas Legislative Update – Real Estate Issues

texas-capital-domeAs the Chair of the ICSC Government Relations Committee, J. Bradley Greenblum shared highlights of the recently adjourned Texas State Legislature as it pertained to the real estate industry including important initiatives that were passed, others that were successfully defeated as well as a few disappointments.  Stay informed and involved in these important issues.

End of Session Legislative Update

 

This session was a success for the real estate industry.  Important initiatives that passed include: 

  • Budget and Taxes – HB 4765 exempts small businesses with up to $1 million in gross receipts from the franchise tax until December 31, 2011 and exempt small businesses with up to $600,000 in gross receipts thereafter; HB 1801 adds school supplies and backpacks to the Sales Tax Holiday.          
  • Highway Access – SB 1609 requires a decision by a district office of the Texas Department of Transportation denying access to a specific location on a controlled access highway to be in writing and include the reasons for the denial and provide procedures for appealing a denial.            
  • Texas Windstorm Insurance Association – HB 4409, a disaster and emergency response bill, included provisions allowing the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association to issue bonds of up to $2.5 billion to fund losses in excess of premiums and other revenue of the association in the event of catastrophic losses on the Texas coast.  The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association operates as an insurer of last resort covering windstorm and hail insurance in the seacoast territory for property owners who are unable to obtain property insurance through the voluntary market.  It includes residential and commercial property. 

The success of the real estate industry can BETTER be measured by the issues that did not pass.  The real estate industry was successful in defeating bills/amendments that would have: 

  • Mandated sales price disclosure upon the sale of commercial real estate;
  • Increased back taxes owed when a property is converted from agricultural property to non-agriculture use;
  • Authorized municipalities and counties to regulate land development in unincorporated areas; 
  • Required businesses that offer plastic checkout bags to customers to make a reusable bag available for sale at a reasonable price; and required businesses that offer plastic checkout bags to have a checkout bag recycling program. 
  • Authorized a financial institution to bring an action against a business that is subject to a breach of system security if the business is not in compliance with payment card industry data security standards. 
  • Changed the measurements for alcohol sale-ban zones;
  • Allowed cities or counties to increase local sales taxes above the 2% combined local sales tax cap.  

There were some disappointments: 

  • HB 3189/SB 1221 would have eliminated pass-through charges in triple net leases from the franchise tax calculation.  We are asking for this to be the topic of an interim study. 
  • Legislation that would have brought Texas into conformity with the Strealined Sales Tax Project (Representative Rene Oliviera was denied permission to introduce it in the House). 
  • HB 3454 would have provided relief for property owners in a year following a successful protest by requiring the appraisal district to have substantial evidence showing an increase is warranted in order to increase the value. 

HB 3458/SB 690 would have raised the number of signatures required for a citizen-initiated petition for municipal charter amendments from 5% to 10% of registered voters.  We are asking for this to be the topic of an interim study. 

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