State Senator says flood victims deserve relief from full property tax

- While homes on most Katy cul-de-sacs look pretty normal, many are worth considerably less than they were just seven weeks ago. That's when Harvey's deluge triggered a reservoir release which inundated dwellings by the thousand.

Overwhelmed with recovery expense, residents like Lavada Fulgham fear her local property tax bill will not reflect the lost value flood waters stripped from her home.

"Why pay taxes on value your home doesn't have anymore?," asked Fulham. "It just doesn't make sense," 

That collective plea has sparked both recognition and some limited relief.

Katy and Spring Branch independent school districts have ordered disaster reappraisals to reflect post-flood property value, as have the counties of Montgomery and Fort Bend.

Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt is urging all taxing entities to follow their compassionate lead.

"To me, it’s just an open and shut case," said Sen. Bettencourt. "A lot of these folks have lost everything. It's the right thing to do financially because this is the time they need a break. I think there's actually a moral imperative here.

It's relief the City of Houston, Houston Independent School District and Harris County have thus far refused to extend. Bettencourt predicts a fierce taxpayer backlash if they fail to bend.

"The needs of these flood-damaged folks outweigh their need for more revenue," said Bettencourt.

Experts say the market value plunge for homes hammered by flood is both real and substantial ranging between 15 and 50 percent.

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