Few are the people who take delight in paying property taxes. Yet when we understand where our dollars go and have confidence they are being spent wisely on services and infrastructure of benefit to us all, the sting is lessened and, in fact, we may appreciate the quality of life and services they provide.  Nevertheless, when the growth of our tax burden outpaces the growth in our income, it can cause a strain that is more intimately felt. The same is true in the commercial sector. Businesses may be reluctant to make new hires (i.e., create jobs) or otherwise expand their business (which oftentimes includes a capital investment that boosts our tax rolls) if they face uncertainty on how their property taxes may increase from one year to the next. view article arw

Jefferson ISD board of trustees recently adopted a balanced budget and set a slightly increased tax rate for the 2017-18 school year. Jefferson ISD Business Manager Mike Wood said on Friday that the district adopted about an $11.7 million balanced budget for this school year, after having to use money from the district's fund balance last school year to adopt a 2016-17 deficit budget. view article arw

In an increasingly complex era of public school finance, and with no end in sight to the troubles in our state’s school funding system, districts across Texas are faced with looking to their taxpayers for support as state funding dwindles. This convoluted funding system seems to have shifted the burden of school finance away from the state’s constitutional mandate to support public schools. The state has laid the majority of school funding costs heavy on the checkbooks of our community members. Since 2008, the school funding formula in Texas has dwindled state support for public schools from 48.8 percent to 42.7 percent.  view article arw

Before the tax rate set by the Huntsville ISD Board of Trustees goes into effect, citizens will first have to approve a measure on the Nov. 7 ballot regarding money being shifted from one portion of the district’s budget to another. The combined tax rate of $1.18 per $100 evaluation is made up of $1.10 maintenance and operation (M and O) and a 8-cent interest and sinking (I and S) rate. Those rates were unanimously approved by the board of trustees during the Aug. 21 meeting. view article arw

Both Eanes and Lake Travis ISDs set tax rates for fiscal year 2017-18 and ordered Nov. 7 tax ratification elections for district residents to approve or deny an increase of each district’s maintenance and operations, or M&O, portion of the tax rate. view article arw

In preparation of the Nov. 7 Constitutional Amendment special election, the Harrison County Elections Office will conduct its first public logic and accuracy test, beginning at 10 a.m., Monday, to ensure that the county's voting equipment to be used in the election are operating properly. "We're going to verify that the voting systems - electronic and paper - tabulate and tally the vote correctly," Mike McMurry, Harrison County's elections administrator, said. "We've also notified the party chairs and anybody else that wants to come and see it, particularly those that are questioning what we do and how we do it, so that they can see there are checks and balances and qualifications that take place," he informed. "Hopefully, this will help address their concerns." view article arw

Several information meetings have been conducted in the North Hopkins Independent School District to provide an overview of a proposed Tax “Swap” Ratification Election. Superintendent Darin Jolly said the tax swap will enable the district to maximize state funding without raising local rates. The additional money will used for what Jolly calls  “big ticket” items including transportation fleet needs, parking improvements and expansion, energy efficiency upgrades for increased savings, and instructional needs for facility and equipment for 21st century learning. view article arw

Weslaco school district voters have not seen a tax increase in eight years, but that could change next month. The board of trustees will soon consider increasing the district’s interest and sinking tax rate by 2 cents. If the new rate is approved, Weslaco ISD taxpayers would pay a total of $1.16 per $100 of property valuation. The tax rate for the district’s maintenance and operations, or M&O, will not increase this fiscal year, remaining at $1.14 per $100 of property valuation. view article arw

The Santo ISD Board of Trustees met in a called session on Aug. 30 to adopt the budget for the 2017-18 school year and to set the district tax rate. A general expenditure fund budget of just over $5 million was adopted, a 0.8 percent decrease from the prior year. The board made a decision to maintain the same tax rate of $1.30 per $100 of appraised value for fiscal 2018. view article arw

Amazon is headquartered in Seattle, but it may be heading to Texas as fast as it can. The online commerce giant announced last week that it is searching for a city to build a second corporate base, according to the Wall Street Journal. Every single big city in Texas has pounced on the opportunity and joined a fierce nationwide bidding war. The company laid out a pretty detailed wish list for its “HQ2” project, including a metropolitan area with more than one million people, on-site access to mass transit, a commute of 45 minutes or less to an international airport, easy access to a major highway or arterial road, and close proximity to good universities, plus fiber optic internet connections and strong cell phone service. view article arw

Austin school leaders say they can take on $1.05 billion in bond debt without raising the district’s tax rate, based largely on climbing property values and the district’s ability to pay down more than half of its existing debt in the next decade. Keeping the tax rate the same is a central feature of the district’s political campaign for the bond proposition going before local voters in November. The money from the bond measure would pay to construct new schools, rebuild deteriorating campuses and modernize a school system for which the average building is 40 years old. view article arw

Monday, Sept. 11, is the final day to register to vote for a Bryan ISD special election. Voters will decide if they want to raise part of the property tax rate in the district. Bryan ISD wants to raise their maintenance and operations side of the tax rate by two percent, and they will lower the debt rate by three percent. view article arw

Following discussion from the Aug. 21 board meeting, the Carroll ISD board of trustees approved the 2017-18 fiscal year tax rate of $1.385 per $100 valuation. view article arw

Voters residing in Denton ISD’s 17 communities on Saturday overwhelmingly approved a Tax Ratification Election (TRE) to keep local tax dollars for public education local and increase funds the district receives from the state. With 100 percent of the precincts reported, voters approved the TRE by 80 percent. A total of 2,159 votes were cast in the election, with those in favor of the TRE equaling 1,733. view article arw

Penny tax increase coming in Louise ISD

September 1108:25 AM

Louise ISD met last week to discuss the 2017-18 school year budget. “We agreed to adopt a maintenance and operations tax rate of $1.17,” Superintendent Garth Oliver said. “Although that is being raised a cent, tax rates are going to remain relatively the same as a total because our interest and sinking rate is at zero. The new rate, is three cents cheaper than when I came to Louise three years ago.” view article arw

These words are chiseled on the front of The Dallas Morning News building: "Acknowledge the right of the people to get from the newspaper both sides of every important question." But the newspaper's editorial board isn't living up to that creed in the way it handles Dallas ISD issues. On Aug. 18, there was a critical vote about raising the property tax rate and ordering a tax ratification election to raise additional funds for Dallas ISD. Four options were made: a 2-cent swap with no overall tax increase, a 13-cent tax increase, a 6-cent tax increase, and a 2-cent tax increase. view article arw

A year after voters turned down Frisco ISD’s tax ratification election, or TRE, to increase the property tax rate by 13 cents per $100 of valuation, the district still faces funding shortfalls going into the 2017-18 fiscal year. On the surface, it appears that FISD would be in good shape for the 2017-18 school year because final property appraisal values released at the end of July showed the district netted $19.69 million more than what was originally projected in June. view article arw

Denton ISD tax swap approved

September 1106:07 AM

A small percentage of voters living within the boundaries of Denton ISD overwhelmingly approved a measure on Saturday to increase the district's maintenance and operations tax rate. With all 55 precincts reporting, a little more than 80 percent of voters approved what's known as a tax swap. Less than 2 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in the tax ratification election. "We're very pleased with the results," Denton ISD Superintendent Jamie Wilson said. "It's a tribute to the work that our teachers are doing every day." view article arw

Taxpayers may complain about their tax rates, but less than 1 percent of voters in Denton ISD cast a ballot during the early voting period of the school district's tax ratification election. Early voting ended Tuesday on a measure that would bring the district's maintenance and operations tax rate up by 2 cents, but leave Denton ISD's overall tax rate unchanged. According to election officials, a little more than 1,050 out of 109,963 eligible voters cast a ballot. view article arw

Failure by lawmakers to agree on the threshold of property tax reform led to the death of Senate Bill 1 prior to the end of Texas’ legislative special session Aug. 15. But even with a small victory under their belts, local city leaders believe discussions on property tax won’t be going away anytime soon. view article arw

Despite meeting for a special session this summer, some experts and legislators said the 85th Texas Legislature provided little relief to schools and taxpayers in regard to school finance and property tax reform. “I believe significant property tax relief can only come by changing the way we pay for public education in this state,” Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, said in a statement. “We’ve been talking about it for far too long.” view article arw

Property owners in Plano ISD will pay higher tax bills next year, but district officials expect just a fraction of that new revenue to go toward local schools and administration. The Plano ISD board of trustees on Tuesday adopted a 2017-18 property tax rate of $1.439 per $100 valuation, unchanged from the previous year. As property values continue to climb across North Texas, the district expects to collect 8 percent more this year in property taxes—but the bulk of that new revenue will go directly to the state in the form of mandatory recapture payments, according to Plano ISD Chief Financial Officer Steve Fortenberry. view article arw

Springtown ISD lowers tax rate

September 0708:38 AM

Springtown Independent School District decided to lower its tax rate more than anticipated at a special meeting Wednesday, by voting to approve a tax rate that is will be seven cents lower than the present rate instead of four. The district canvassed results of a tax ratification election meant to simultaneously reduce the tax rate and increase school funding, with the measure being supported 289 to 29. view article arw

Quinlan ISD announces election results

September 0708:36 AM

The results of Quinlan Independent School District’s tax ratification election were announced at a special meeting of the district’s board of trustees Tuesday. During the short, two-minute meeting Quinlan ISD Superintendent Dr. Debra Crosby reported that 167 early voters voted in favor of the proposed property tax rate (for the district’s maintenance and operations) while only five voted against, for a total of 172 early votes. As for the results of Aug. 26’s official election date, she stated the tally as 67 for and eight against, for a total of 75 votes on election day. view article arw

The Plano ISD school board begrudgingly approved the 2017-18 tax rate of $1.439 Tuesday night, the same tax rate for the third year in a row. The board also discussed its goals for the 2017-18 school year and began discussion on next year’s academic calendar. Before approving the tax rate, trustees made a point to mention the district’s escalated recapture payment and how it impacts the district’s options on reducing the tax rate. If trustees adopted the current maintenance and operations (M&O) tax rate of 1.170, they’d reduce their recapture payments, but students also miss out on about $28.5 million in prospective funding. view article arw

Eanes board approves tax-swap measure

September 0108:25 AM

After a 10-day public notification period, the Eanes school board approved a “tax swap” election during its Aug. 21 meeting on a vote of 6-0, with one member absent. The action means a tax exchange election will before voters in the Nov. 7 general election. No one appeared in person during the meeting’s open forum to comment. view article arw

Chico ISD Trustees set tax rate, budget

September 0108:15 AM

Chico ISD trustees Thursday levied a total tax rate of $1.29 per $100 valuation for the 2017-18 school year. The board also approved a balanced $8.43 million budget. view article arw

Employees will receive a raise while the Sharyland Independent School District keeps its tax rate steady in its 2017-2018 fiscal year budget. The district has also approved three new academic academies. Next year’s official budget, approved by the Sharyland Board of Trustees Monday, is $113,747,950. Teacher salaries will increase by $1,050 and auxiliary workers will receive 2 percent pay increases. The budget will be funded chiefly by a tax rate of $1.37 per $100 of assessed property valuation.  view article arw

Waco Independent School District Board of Trustees approved a one-cent increase to the district’s tax rate for the 2017-18 budget year. The board voted Thursday to approve the change from $1.40 per $100 of property value to $1.41. The extra penny on the rate will go to the debt-service fund. The board also approved a 1.1 percent raise for teachers and a 1 percent raise for non-teachers in the 2017-18 budget cycle. The general fund budget will be $143.3 million, the child nutrition budget will be $10.1 million and the debt service budget will be $14.7 million, according to district documents. view article arw

A yes to more voting hours

August 3108:25 AM

Recently, the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court voted to extend hours providing working voters a chance to cast their ballots during the work weeks just prior to the upcoming November general election. This was done because the city of Edinburg was ready to pay the extra costs to extend the voting hours in their city election that will also be held in November. view article arw

Allen ISD adopts 2017-18 tax rate

August 3108:10 AM

The tax roll was approved at $12.6 billion with a tax rate of $1.14 for maintenance and operations and 43 cents for debt service, establishing a total tax rate of $1.57, a two-cent decrease from last year, or effectively a 6.7 percent increase. view article arw

The owner of the average home in the Austin school district will shell out $374 more this year in property taxes for schools. Austin school trustees on Monday night adopted the district’s 2017-18 school tax rate, which remains unchanged from last year. But the owner of the average taxable value home will pay $4,291, an increase of $374 over last year, because the average taxable value of a home in the district rose 10 percent to $359,947. view article arw

The Aledo Independent School District’s board of trustees adopted a budget Monday that keeps its tax rate the same and includes a three percent raise for teachers and staff. Almost $450 million in taxable property added to the district’s tax rolls since reappraisal enabled the district to keep its tax rate the same, said Earl Husfeld, the district’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO). view article arw

The property tax rate of $1.192 per $100 valuation levied by Austin ISD will remain unchanged for fiscal year 2017-18 following a unanimous vote by trustees Aug. 28. A school district’s property tax rate is made up of both a maintenance and operations, or M&O, tax rate and an interest and sinking fund, or I&S, if applicable. view article arw