Accusing the City of Austin of trying to "take control over Texas tax policy," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office asked a court Thursday to allow it to intervene in the city's lawsuit challenging the state's property appraisal system.
Austin filed its lawsuit in August, arguing that the appraised values of billions of dollars in commercial and vacant land do not match market prices, a violation of the state Constitution's requirements that all property be taxed “in proportion to its value” and in an “equal and uniform” manner. Though the Travis County Appraisal District was listed as the suit's defendant, city leaders made clear at the time that the real target was members of state government.
In its filing to Travis County District Court Thursday, Paxton's office argued that homeowners were being unfairly excluded from the suit.
"Texas homeowner taxpayers have been deprived of a voice in the City’s attempt to rewrite Texas tax law," Paxton's office wrote. "Because the City challenges the constitutionality of Texas tax statute and policy, and because Texas homeowners are totally unrepresented in this suit, the State of Texas through Attorney General Ken Paxton seeks to intervene in this suit to defend against these claims."
Austin officials have argued that requiring the disclosure of sales prices of real estate transactions would help address problems with the appraisal system. Texas is one of a handful of states that do not require such disclosures for appraisal purposes.