The LPE-DPE template has been updated according to Woody Brewton.  The current template is now Release 6 and can be downloaded at this Link. read more arw

Large employers across Midland contributed $110,000 for the tax ratification election that failed in October.  According to campaign reports turned in Friday by the group Better Begins Now Midland First, Concho Resources, Pioneer Natural Resources, Apache Corp., Cimarex Energy Co. and Occidental Petroleum Co. (Oxy) each donated $20,000. Warren Administration Co. added a $10,000 contribution.  The campaign finance report also reported $110,000 in total political expenses, including contribution reimbursements to the six companies.  view article arw

During my years serving the Austin Chamber, home and business property owners have been increasingly vocal about property taxes and their effect on affordability. These concerns grow louder every time we write our annual property tax checks. Most difficult to explain is the biggest portion of each property tax payment goes towards financing public education not just in Austin, but in school districts across Texas. view article arw

Good Point! - Did you catch that footnote in the early budget numbers for the state of Texas? In the midst of all the week’s gloomy state budget news, this stuck out like a gold nugget in a cow patty: Rising property values in the state’s school districts translate into higher local tax revenue and a reduced need for state money for education  That’s another way of saying the state will spend $3.2 billion less in the next budget than it would have — in large measure because property values are up and local taxpayers are unwittingly subsidizing the state.  That frees state officials to spend their time talking about things like limiting local school districts’ ability to collect more taxes.  Feel like everyone is giving you the straight scoop on this? It’s not that everybody in state government is lying, it’s that it’s hard to change one thing in school finance without wrecking something else. view article arw

Updated LPE - DPE Template

January 1201:16 PM

The LPE-DPE template has been updated according to Woody Brewton.  The current template is now Release 6 and can be downloaded at this Link. read more arw

A committee meets next week to work through applications for Gregg County's next chief property appraiser, but trustees scuffled a bit Tuesday over Chief Appraiser Tom Hays' retirement fund logistics. view article arw

KILGORE — A trio of Republican state lawmakers got on the same page with Kilgore-area leaders Wednesday as the start of their 140-day legislative session nears.  State Rep.-elect Jay Dean of Longview and Rep. Travis Clardy of Nacogdoches assured a small crowd of city, county and school officials they are unlikely to support a state-imposed cap on local property tax rates that is high on the 85th Legislature's agenda.  Rep. Bryan Hughes, who becomes Sen. Hughes when the session begins Tuesday, said the bill that's upsetting city leaders statewide probably won't come out of the session the same way it went in. view article arw

AUSTIN — On the eve of making his two-year revenue estimate for the Legislature to budget by, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar on Wednesday reported some good fiscal news — finally. Last month, state sales tax receipts jumped by 4.9 percent over December 2015, the biggest single-month percentage increase in more than a year-and-a-half.  "Sales tax revenue growth was led by collections from sectors driven by consumer spending — retail trade and information services," Hegar said in a written statement. view article arw

AUSTIN — State leaders and lawmakers may feel Texans’ pain when it comes to rising local property taxes, but they’re also getting some gain from the increases as they prepare to write the state budget.  Because of the way formulas for public school finances work, the state’s share of paying for education goes down when local school property tax values go up.  The calculation means that lawmakers who meet in regular session starting this month should have nearly $2 billion more in state money to spend in other areas because they won’t have to put it into schools. view article arw

But steadily rising Texas property values haven’t translated into what could have been a steady drop in school property tax rates. In fact, school tax bills have shot up over a decade when much more modest increases were required — largely because state lawmakers decided the benefits of rising values should go into the state’s budget instead of taxpayer pockets. view article arw

MARLIN, Texas (KWTX) The Marlin ISD has been struggling in recent years with funding being one of the issues, but a city measure could help improve the situation.  The measure would bring more money to the school district without raising taxes by changing the way taxes are divided.   "If we restructure our taxes without a tax increase we get another half a million dollars,” said Marlin ISD Superintendent Mike SeaboltFor the measure to pass, it would have to go through a vote. view article arw

Two years ago, the promises about property tax relief were big and the rewards were small. Don’t expect that to improve much.  The hoopla has not left town. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is again making property tax relief a priority. Paul Bettencourt of Houston, who replaced Patrick in the Senate, held hearings across the state and found exactly what he was looking for — Texans mad about paying some of the highest property taxes in the country. Bettencourt and his allies are pledging relief. view article arw

Why are my taxes going up and where is all that money going?  This is a great question and a common one that many residents have, especially when no improvements have been made to their property.  If your taxes went up this year, the reason is because the Collin County Appraisal District increased the value of your property.  The school district had nothing to do with the determining the value of your property. view article arw

The need for property tax reform

December 0708:35 AM

I recently had a conversation with a neighbor who had listed his home for sale. Because he was a longtime homeowner in my neighborhood, it seemed odd to me that he would suddenly be moving. He had retired three years previous but before doing so, he had been a manager in a Fortune 500 company, and had financially done very well. He had paid off all his indebtedness, including his home, and seemed to be enjoying his lifestyle.  When I asked him why he was moving, he replied, "the property taxes are killing me;" and at the rate of increase from year to year, it would soon be impossible for him to maintain his current lifestyle. He continued, "The taxes are now almost the amount of the payment I used to make on my home." view article arw

While rising property values benefit property owners in the long run, local taxpayers often receive sticker shock when their local property tax bill arrives.  Logically, with education funding largely reliant on property taxes, education should be the biggest beneficiary of rising property values. Not so. Unfortunately, public education does not receive additional operating revenue from property value increases beyond the first year, because the State reduces their contribution to education spending the next year. view article arw

Good Read!  - Everyone who loves living in Texas has his or her own list of things that make our state a great place.  For me, it’s the people, our vibrant cities – along with the barbeque and breakfast tacos – that rise to the top of the list.  One thing that’s often mentioned as an attraction for businesses and people moving to Texas is our low taxes and, of course, no income tax.  The latest state rankings from the Tax Foundation listed Texas as 46th in the amount of combined state and local taxes paid by residents. view article arw

After Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick saluted legislation potentially giving voters more sway over local property taxes, we wondered afresh about how Texas ranks nationally in terms of property tax burden.  Patrick, talking up a proposal hatched by fellow Republicans led by Houston state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, said in a Nov. 29, 2016, press release: "Texans pay the sixth-highest property tax in the nation, and Texans have told us loud and clear that common-sense property tax reform legislation is long overdue."  In January 2016, we found Mostly True the same claim by a Bexar County legislative aspirant.  view article arw

Read! If this article is paywalled for you - you can watch the actual comments Bentoncourt made by watching the video.- js- AUSTIN — State Sen. Paul Bettencourt filed legislation Tuesday he said would ensure local property tax rates decrease as property values rise, arguing that local taxing entities have exploited “the current system’s flaws” to overburden taxpayers.  The Republican senator from Houston unveiled a five-point plan that would, most notably, reform the rollback process by which local taxing entities, which include schools and cities, can approve annual property tax increases. Bettencourt’s bill would repeal the current process and replace it with a provision that would trigger a tax ratification election if an entity exceeds a specified rate. The legislation also would cut the growth limit on rollback tax rate calculations from 8 percent to 4 percent. view article arw

Following the outcomes of the November elections, property owners in SAISD will see their property taxes go up considerably. However, a homestead exemption unanimously approved by the SAISD board at its meeting on Nov. 28 may bring relief.  Board President Patti Radle pointed out that while some taxpayers will only have to make minor adjustments to their family budget, others will feel the increase more severely.  “For other people it might mean denting into their budget for a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk,” said Radle. “We want to be sensitive to that.” view article arw

AUSTIN — Legislative leaders with promises to keep about tax relief — but limited state dollars at their disposal — want to give local voters more power to block city and county increases in property tax revenues.  It’s touted as a way to help Texans pushed to the wall by rising property tax bills, but cities and counties are digging in for a fight against the proposal being developed by the Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief. view article arw

After the no vote on Proposition 1, the Houston Independent School District got a letter from the state.  Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath told HISD that he’ll take away $18 billion in commercial property from its tax base. Think downtown office buildings.  They’ll go to another poor school district and get taxed at a higher rate. Those taxes would yield the $162 million that HISD still owes, under the school finance system known as “recapture” or “Robin Hood.”  Morath didn’t give an exact timeline, though one state manual indicates a July deadline.  This is called detachment. It’s one of the biggest potential repercussions from the proposition’s defeat. view article arw

State Rep. James Frank (R-Wichita Falls) wasn't bluffing earlier this year when he said he'd file a bill to limit tax incentives for wind energy projects that encroach on military airspace. This week, Frank did just that by filing the Military Aviation Safety Act, a measure that would take away tax exemptions for wind farms built within a 30-mile radius of Texas military bases. The bill is one outcome of an increasingly divisive situation in Wichita Falls, where military officials, landowners and business leaders have railed against the possible construction of wind energy developments in the general vicinity of Sheppard Air Force Base. view article arw

Fort Bend school roundup

November 2208:40 AM

Now that the presidential election is over, Needville ISD patrons can focus on the upcoming tax ratification election on Dec. 17. view article arw

In last Tuesday’s American-Statesman, Larry Akers mistakenly assigns problems with the Texas taxation system, property taxes in particular, to the Texas school finance system. While the latter has its own problems, recapture is not one of them and is not the source of the woes that Akers cites. The real “Sheriff of Nottingham” is a school finance system that gives higher funding to some districts for reasons unrelated to the necessary costs of educating their students — funding that could be used to properly fund students and districts whose uncontrollably higher costs are largely ignored. view article arw

When voters rejected Proposition 1, they didn’t cancel HISD’s debt to the state. They just rejected the most common way wealthy districts pay it. HISD still owes millions to the Texas school finance system. view article arw

Amidst the crumbling debris of last week's election, there was one vote in Texas that nobody noticed, but which may have monumental consequences for school finance. Houston ISDvoters delivered a message to the state: We won't send you our property tax dollars.  In a referendum called by school district trustees, HISD residents voted almost two-to-one to block the sending of recapture payments to the state under the "Robin Hood" school finance system.  view article arw

School funding

November 1508:30 AM

Houston ISD's Proposition 1 didn't draw the attention of a presidential race, but it's arguably poised to have the most local impact of anything on the ballot.Effective July 1, the Texas Education commissioner will detach valuable commercial properties from Houston Independent School District's tax rolls and assign them to a property-poor district for taxing purposes. The commissioner's action could affect scores of high-profile properties, including downtown's Houston Center, Pennzoil Place and Chase Tower. Depending on the tax rates in the recipient districts, owners of these properties could experience a hike in their tax bills. Property owners of the affected buildings - paying a higher tax rate than their neighbors - could face an unfair competitive disadvantage. view article arw

AUSTIN – For all of the talk of giant spike in voter turnout driven by high early-vote turnout fueled by the black-eye, bloody-nose presidential race, the percentage of registered voters in Texas who made it to the polls was nearly identical to that of 2008, the last time no incumbent led the top of the ticket. view article arw

AUSTIN – Based on initial results in today’s Houston Independent School District (HISD) referendum on Proposition 1, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath has notified the HISD board of trustees of his order and notice of possible detachment of property from the Houston Independent School District and annexation to another school district(s).   Election results for Proposition 1, which would have authorized the HISD board of trustees to purchase attendance credits from the state with local tax revenues, must still be certified.  According to state law, the Commissioner of Education is statutorily obligated to make this notification by Nov. 8. Text of the Commissioner’s notification letter to the Houston ISD can be read below. view article arw

The unofficial election night results displayed on this web site are based on the unofficial results reported to us by the Willacy County Elections Administrator and as such, are posted on the web as a convenience to the public. view article arw

Voters shot down Bushland ISD’s attempt to raise its maintenance and operations property tax rate to the maximum amount allowed under state law.  Unofficial voting numbers from Tuesday’s general election show the 13-cent tax increase failing with 1,530 votes against 1,247 in favor.  The measure passed in Randall County by a slim margin — 319 to 315 — but was rejected in Potter County. view article arw

Voters in three local school districts seemingly approved hundreds of millions of dollars Tuesday in bond issues with most precincts counted. In San Antonio’s urban core, the San Antonio Independent School District put a $450 million bond before voters as well as a separate tax rate increase of 13 cents per $100 in property value for the school district. With about 85 percent of votes counted, both were headed for passage with at least 70 percent of the vote. view article arw

Houston voters refused Tuesday to authorize the school district to forfeit millions in local property tax dollars to the state next year, setting up uncertainty over the fate of the money.  Under the state's current funding formula, the Houston Independent School District is considered so property wealthy for the first time that it must forfeit money to help fund the state's poorer districts — whether or not voters here approve. view article arw

Voters in the Roosevelt Independent School District tax ratification election approved the tax increase with 59.6 percent of 1,528 votes. Hours before the polls closed on Tuesday evening, new Roosevelt Independent School District Superintendent Dallas Grimes said he was feeling positive about a tax ratification election for the district. view article arw

A year ago, Roosevelt Independent School District's board of trustees asked voters to approve a tax ratification election with a tax increase of 11 cents per $100 of property valuation.  Voters declined.  But on Nov. 8, Roosevelt voters will be asked again to approve the increase. view article arw