Texas RV park owners are seeking legislative relief as property taxes continue to soar, with some facing increases between 100% to 400% and even over 500% in recent years.
Despite the pressing need for tax reform, no resolution appears to be reached before the Texas Legislature completes its two-year session on May 29.
Ron Hinkle, the lobbyist for the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), attributes the lack of progress to “major disagreements” between the Speaker and Lt. Governor on property tax relief measures.
To address the issue, Texas lawmakers have introduced bills designed to tackle rapidly escalating property tax rates for RV park owners. For example, HB 1895, sponsored by Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, aims to allow RV parks to be appraised using a “cost methodology,” resulting in a more market-based and accurate valuation of RV parks.
However, the bill has yet to have a hearing and is not expected to pass during this legislative session.
The Governor is anticipated to call a special session in June to continue discussing property tax relief. In the meantime, other legislation is in progress to protect RV park operators from the costs associated with frivolous lawsuits and excessive water utility costs.
HB 2636, sponsored by Andrew Murr, R-Kerrville, seeks to protect campground and RV park operators from liability involving certain injuries at a park due to guests’ negligence.
Another proposed legislation, HB 1612, sponsored by Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, and its Senate companion bill, SB 594, sponsored by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, aims to prevent water utilities from charging RV parks water service fees on a per-site basis. This practice forces RV parks to pay for more water than they could ever use, driving up costs for park owners.
Furthermore, HB 1286, sponsored by Rep. Ryan Guillen, R-Rio Grande City, proposes establishing uniform building codes for RV parks in Texas using NFPA 1194 standards as a guide. This would encourage cities and counties to adhere to national RV park construction standards rather than attempting to create their guidelines.
Although the property tax relief that Texas RV park owners are seeking remains uncertain, the legislative developments show a concerted effort to address the challenges faced by the industry. As the state government continues to work towards a resolution, RV park operators can take solace in their concerns being heard and that progress is being made in other areas that impact their businesses.
TACO’s annual Spring Meeting and Trade Show concluded Wednesday with record attendance at the meetings and trade show with 76 vendors.