Requiring the appraisal review board members to take a class annually is an excellent idea. The Texas Tax Code is quite friendly to Texas taxpayers. The problem is that appraisal districts and appraisal review board members ignore the law.

Historically, appraisal review board members have only been required to take one eight hour class before starting to do hearings. When you think about it this is remarkable. In eight hours, appraisal review board members are supposed to learn enough about the Texas Tax Code and appraisal of single family, commercial, industrial and business personal property to do hearings. The requirements for both appraiser and tax consultants require well in excess of eight hours of training. How much can you learn about anything in eight hours?

In reality, the training has not been meaningful and the appraisal review board members are taught the culture in on the job training. In reality, at most appraisal review boards, the evidence does not matter. All that matters is you vote consistently with the appraisal district, so you are selected for additional two year terms and are given a robust work schedule. Since you only hear about the laws once, you forget about the laws and the oath to God you signed to follow the laws.

It is unclear if requiring appraisal review board members to take an eight hour class annually before doing hearings will make a difference. However, at least it will remind them of the taxpayer friendly laws. Combined with the other changes for appointment of appraisal review board members, the survey at the end of each hearing and the ability to have an appraisal review board member terminated with clear and convincing evidence of bias, this may be adequate to effect real change.