Bexar County Residential Property Taxes: Taxation Without Representation

I warned you guys that my last Facebook Live post would not be the last you heard about this article I discovered from June of last year, interviewing Michael Amezquita, Bexar County’s Chief Appraiser about the current status of Bexar County’s commercial property taxes.  Here is the link to the article, if you have not read it yet, and you only read one article today, stop reading mine and click on this link, it is mandatory Bexar County Resident reading:

Now, I understand most people would read this article and not glean nearly as much information as I do, but that OK, every Bexar county resident’s education must start somewhere, and this is the perfect place.  First of all, you do not need much education in the world of property taxes or finances, or even economics, to see the glaring increase Mr. Amazquita mentions, with Bexar County’s commercial tax abatement increase from 26 in 2005 to 146 in 2015!  He even clarifies that this is 1.5B dollars off the tax rolls.

Despite the fact that what I love so much about this article, the candor in Mr. Amazaquita’s answers, is also very likely the same reason you will not see this article printed in the Express News, or covered on a major local news station, and also why it is a year old and I am just discovering it.  His use of the words “actually” and “about the best” when referring to Toyota’s tax abatement do not require higher education to extrapolate that he doesn’t think that the rest of the companies who received abatements are holding their own.

I will tell you as a San Antonio native, who has spent the last 14 years outside of the city and worked in nearly 13 of the top counties, the tax abatement to the Pearl and Can Plant apartments was utterly shocking to me personally.  Why?  Because apartment and multi-family developers are making money hand over fist in Texas, so to see an abatement doled out to them doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Furthermore, that area seems to be doing well, and the rents are not low, so I don’t get why they needed a tax break?

One more thing that most laymen won’t pick up on is the second company mentioned in the article in receiving a large abatement is Lowe’s.  This is funny because Lowe’s is in the process of litigating the entire theory on which their stores are appraised for tax purposes in Texas, it is a landmark case of sorts, and has been coined “The Black Box” theory.  In short, if Lowe’s were to win this lawsuit, then their properties across the state, including Bexar County, would be re-assessed and taxed as if they were a black box with nothing in them.  Furthermore, this would cause a landslide of almost all major retailers, or companies that use large spaces like Lowe’s, to challenge their assessments on this theory.  So, it is nice of Bexar county to give a company a tax break while they are busy using up our tax dollars to defend against another challenge.

And in the end, what does this mean for you?  Exactly what I said, more tax increases.  So it is time to make sure you are managing your property taxes annually, and as efficiently as possible with



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