“The true value of wide open space is more apparent than ever before. A conservation easement is the only legal tool capable of conserving family lands forever. As cities grow, surrounding rural areas face increased development pressures resulting in higher land values. This trend is likely to continue as people seek and find comfort in the outdoors. Because we all benefit when a landowner decides to preserve their slice of open space, conservation easement donors receive significant federal income and estate tax benefits. Landowners can also monetize their development rights by selling a conservation easement over their land to local, state, or federal agencies for cash. At Braun & Gresham, we track these funding sources and help landowners maximize their land values while creating family legacies.”
Kathryn Tancig, Attorney & Counselor
Senate OKs Biggest Conservation Funding Bill in Half Century
The Senate approved a bill Wednesday, [June 17th], that would permanently fund a popular, bipartisan conservation program and provide up to $9.5 billion over the next five years to repair national parks and public lands. Lawmakers touted the Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422) as the most significant conservation legislation in at least 50 years. It passed the Senate 73-25… Read more
Great Springs Project Envisions a Network of Trails From Austin to San Antonio
Twenty-seven years ago, Deborah Morin watched as the hills, streams, caves, and springs of the Hill Country outside of Austin were being gobbled up by construction. The vast majority of that land is in private hands, meaning the health of the aquifer and Barton Springs was mostly dependent upon the decisions of private landowners… Read more
“It’s summertime at Braun and Gresham, which means we are in daily communication with appraisal district staff to try to resolve the hundreds of applications and protests that we have filed. COVID-19 is affecting how the appraisal districts are doing business this year, too. They are holding more phone consultations, rather than in person meetings with landowners. They aren’t doing site inspections and instead asking us to submit photos to document the activities on the land. We’ve also seen a slow response rate as they struggle, like all of us, to adjust to the ‘new normal’. As I am communicating with my clients about the status of their applications and protests, I am reminded that we must be patient and diligent as we work through the summer. Patience is required because it may take your local appraiser longer to process your application or protest. Diligence is required in order to make sure that you either resolve your protest or get a hearing. Hang in there and keep at it. It is often the case that our protests get resolved only a few days before a hearing. Sometimes, you don’t need to worry, you just need to wait until you rise up to the top of the appraiser’s very long to do list. As always, let us know how we can help or if you need any advice about the protest process.”
Cassie Gresham, Principal, Attorney & Counselor
Webinar: The Texas Ecolab Program
The Texas Ecolab Program offers landowners an alternative to traditional grazing, timber or farming required to establish favorable “Ag” tax rates. Braun & Gresham’s webinar presented by Attorney and Counselor, Cassie Gresham, and Plateau Land & Wildlife Management Landowner Services Director, Tim Milligan, provides an overview of the Texas Ecolab Program. This webinar will outline the qualifications for landowners entering into the program, next steps and the importance of a Habitat Assessment, and how to move into Wildlife Management after establishing a ‘history’ of research on your property. Register Today!
Lawmakers Suggest Penalty for Localities Hiking Up Property Taxes with Loophole
In April, The Texan reported a possible loophole in Senate Bill 2 (SB 2) — the state legislature’s property tax reform bill passed in 2019 — that could allow cities and counties to raise property taxes above the new 3.5 percent increase caps set by the 86th Legislature. The statute provides an exemption to localities if a disaster declaration is made in their area… Read more
Protesting Your Property Appraisal? Expect a Socially-Distanced Process
State law requires appraisals to be set according to a property’s value on January 1, long before COVID-19 soured the economy. So far, BCAD [ Bexar County Appraisal District] has received more than 75,000 protests. They expect about 40,000 more. For people who appeal, the process looks a little different this year. For starters, the doors to the BCAD remain locked… Read more
The Texas Real Estate Advocacy and Defense Coalition (TREAD) is a bi-partisan group that advocates for and defends Texas landowner rights on the state and local levels. TREAD monitors relevant issues in the Texas Legislature, such as property taxes, water rights, eminent domain and more.
Forum for Texas Railroad Commissioner Candidates
The Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) is responsible for overseeing and regulating the oil and gas industry in TX. TREAD Coalition hosted a live, virtual democratic forum for TX RRC Candidates on 6/23 moderated by Quorum Report Editor, Scott Braddock. Candidates Roberto R. “Beto” Alonzo and Chrysta Castaneda were welcomed to discuss their platform, and if elected, how they plan to protect private property rights and support landowner issues… Watch the Recording
Forum for Texas Senate District 14 Candidates
Join TREAD on Thursday, July 9th, at 6pm for an evening with candidates running for the TX District 14 Senate seat. This live, virtual forum will be moderated by Scott Braddock, Editor of the Quorum Report. Candidates Don Zimmerman, Eddie Rodriguez, Jeff Ridgeway, Pat Dixon and Sarah Rodriguez are welcome to discuss their platform, and if elected, how they plan to protect private property rights and support landowner issues… Register to Attend the Live Forum
Braun & Gresham offers the Landowner Alert System to help our clients and colleagues stay informed on issues affecting landowners and their land. This free e-mail service comes out once every two weeks and gives subscribers exclusive access to a range of information including announcements about important changes in the law, upcoming educational seminars, insightful blogs by our legal team, and other current articles related to Texas land and law. Anyone interested in land will benefit.