“In the mid-nineties, I worked with a coalition of landowners to pass the Wildlife Management property tax valuation. This effective law would not have been passed without the cooperation and advocacy of this group. I joined the founding board of TREAD because I see the continued need for landowners to band together to protect and enhance their private property rights.”
Beyrl Armstrong, Board Member and Texas Landowner
Everything is bigger in Texas, including the property taxes. While Texans enjoy no state income tax, we rank #6 on the list of highest property tax rates in the nation!
- Did you know that land in Timber valuation was originally not qualified convert to wildlife management valuation? Legislation in 2009 changed this and ensured all landowners in open-space had the same rights.
- Did you know that ag, timber, and wildlife guidelines are often enforced differently from county to county? While the law gives appraisal districts some flexibility, there are state-wide standards that all must follow.
- Did you know that beekeeping wasn’t an eligible agricultural use until 2012, when legislation was passed to make it so?
- Did you know that owners of Texas land have several options to maintain lower property taxes on their land:
- Agricultural (Ag) use – including livestock, farming, Wildlife Management, Beekeeping, or Exotic Livestock,
- Ecolab (See highlight below)
- Timber use
- Recreational, park, or scenic use (of private land)
It’s different out here.
But, protecting Texas land is an issue every Texan should care about.
- The 142 million acres of working lands in Texas are owned by less than 1% of the population. These lands provide our food, fiber, wildlife habitat, scenic views, and clean water.
- The representatives of over 27 million people are not going to hear the voices of 250,000 landowners without help. TREAD Coalition is the answer. Join now and help us educate the legislature about what matters to rural landowners.
The following in an example of one of the many issues TREAD Coalition will be tracking and safeguarding for landowners in Texas. As a member of TREAD Coalition you can expect to be “in the know” about these issues.
Last session, Ecolab was on the agenda. SB 1006 was proposed to kill the program and it will likely be a fight again in the 86th legislative session, starting in January 2019. The Texas Ecolab program enables landowners to receive an open-space property tax appraisal by hosting university researchers on their land. Researchers benefit by having a program that helps fund their research (paid from the landowners’ property tax savings). The Ecolab program also provides much needed access to private lands for research that would likely not be possible otherwise.
Some landowners have been criticized for receiving a reduction on their property taxes by participating in this valuable program. These landowners could get a different special valuation that would accomplish the same goal, such as an ag valuation, by stocking cows. Ecolab is no different. Landowners like the program because it is a win/win – while allowing university researchers on their property, they learn more about their land and preserve valuable habitat in the process. The program has been under attack and we are keeping a watchful eye on it.
Most Texas landowners are protective of their property and may be skeptical about opening their land up to strangers, but Texas Ecolab helps to incentivize them to give much-needed access to professors to conduct research on issues related to ag & wildlife management, which is important for Texas.
Texas wins because research is being funded to prevent diseases in cattle, studying methods for improving grasslands during drought, reducing mosquito-borne illnesses and understanding the threats of incurable Chagas disease in Texas, to name a few.