BEAUMONT, Texas — A judge has ruled against the appeal of the Beaumont Independent School District first brought forward in 2022. Layoffs are not expected following the loss of the appeal. This decision comes after a nearly year-long dispute with the Texas Comptroller's Office. A State Office Administrative Hearings (SOAH) judge made the ruling against the appeal. BISD found out about the ruling February 19, 2024, according to a BISD news release. view article arw

second liquefied natural gas export proposed for the Port of Brownsville has received final approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas Railroad Commission, moving the project a step closer to a Final Investment Decision (FID) to proceed with construction. Texas LNG, a subsidiary of Glenfarne Energy Transition LLC, would be capable of producing up to 4 million metric tons per year (MTPA) of liquefied natural gas for export to foreign markets. The project received final permitting from USACE and railroad commission under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 in January. Texas LNG received conditional approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2019, though in 2021 the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that FERC failed to conducgt an adequate analysis of “climate and environmental justice impacts,” in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Natural Gas Act, according to the Sierra Club. view article arw

Legal aid groups and housing advocates say there simply aren’t enough lawyers to keep up with the sheer volume of eviction filings.  As more renters struggle to afford housing, Texas landlords are filing more evictions than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic — and tenants have few, if any, protections to keep them housed.  Landlords filed more than 177,000 eviction cases in the Houston, Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth areas in 2023, according to records tracked by Eviction Lab, a research center based at Princeton University that tracks eviction filings. The figure represents a slight uptick from 2022, the first full year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal government’s nationwide eviction moratorium. In Houston and Fort Worth, eviction filings have consistently exceeded pre-pandemic levels for nearly two years. view article arw

Financial mismanagement has become a topic of discussion in the Republican primary for Tarrant County tax assessor-collector. During a meeting with the Star-Telegram editorial board, incumbent Wendy Burgess alleged financial mismanagement by her opponent Rick Barnes — who she defeated in the 2018 primary. Early voting begins Tuesday for the March 5 primary. “Anything Ms. Burgess has to say regarding the Tarrant County GOP is second-hand-knowledge, if not worse,” Barnes said in a statement. view article arw

The fourth-quarter growth report is in for Denton ISD, and the picture is dramatic. The same week that a number of districts are either preparing to shutter campuses or discuss closures in Fort Worth, Irving and Plano, demographer Bob Templeton, the vice president of the school district segment at Zonda Education, told Denton ISD leaders to brace for impact. Denton ISD is red-hot on the growth heat map. “Texas is No. 1 in housing closures,” Templeton said, referring to the number of homes selling across the U.S. “Dallas-Fort Worth is No. 1 in the state in housing closures. Denton ISD is the No. 1 school district. You guys have been second, and you’ve been third. Now you’re No. 1.” view article arw

After the Texas Legislature claimed they had passed the largest property tax cut in Texas history, a new report shows that taxpayers are paying more in taxes. The latest report from the Huffines Liberty Foundation revealed that new numbers released by Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar show total property tax revenue increased in 2023 by $165.2 million.   Additionally, the report by former State Sen. Don Huffines and policy analyst Bill Peacock claims that there was never an $18 billion tax cut, but instead, only $12.7 billion was dedicated to new property tax relief in Senate Bill 2.  view article arw

EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14/CBS4) — The Canutillo School District continues to see low enrollment numbers across its campuses.  Officials with the district told KFOX14, that the population in the district is growing in areas away from their schools. view article arw

Elon Musk wants to deepen his links to Texas after a loss in court over his compensation at Tesla Inc. He’s already expanded a SpaceX launch site in South Texas, moved Tesla’s home office to Austin from Palo Alto, California, relocated himself and his charity and befriended state political leaders, including Governor Greg Abbott. Now Musk plans to summon Tesla shareholders for a vote on shifting the company’s incorporation to Texas from Delaware, after a judge in the tiny state voided his $55 billion pay package. As he often does with controversial business decisions, Musk turned to his followers on X and asked them to vote on what he should do. view article arw

Citizens are celebrating as a court sided with taxpayers this week on a constitutional amendment which was proposed in 2021 and would allow counties to issue more taxpayer-backed debt. In its ruling, the Court set a rule ensuring voters are entitled to more information when proposals will impact taxpayers. Proposition 2, which passed with 63 percent of the vote, would authorize counties to issue bonds—taxpayer-backed debt—to fund infrastructure and transportation projects in underdeveloped, unproductive, or blighted areas and to use increases in property taxes from those areas to pay off the debt. This is known as “tax increment financing” and is a tool currently reserved for cities. Grassroots groups filed a lawsuit alleging the Proposition 2 ballot language that was put before voters failed to comply with common law requirements and was substantially misleading because it neglected to inform voters that the proposal involved debt and property taxes. view article arw

Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham said the move is “retaliation against Texas – for standing up to this administration over the border crisis.”  The White House announced Friday that the Biden administration is putting a “temporary pause on pending decisions of Liquified Natural Gas exports.”  The move, said to be made in deference to “the impacts of LNG exports on energy costs, America’s energy security, and our environment,” immediately drew criticism from Texas officials.  Noting that Texas is the third largest exporter of LNG in the world, Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham posted, “This reckless move is nothing more than retaliation against Texas — for standing up to this administration over the border crisis.”  According to media reports, the Biden administration has been considering this pause on pending LNG exports for several days. view article arw

Voters in Texas’ 50 largest counties must will now elect new three members of their respective property appraisal district boards.  This May, voters in those most populous counties will be asked to elect three members of their respective appraisal district boards. When Texas voters approved constitutional amendments to lower property taxes this year they also approved new political positions within their appraisal districts that are now up for election in May.  Appraisal districts determine annual property valuations based on market value, which helps local taxing entities calculate how much tax revenue they can receive in a given year, and set their tax rates and budgets. Since 1980, these districts have included a property tax appraiser and an appointed board. view article arw

iling begins Wednesday for the May 4 local elections, which will for the first time include races for the local appraisal district board along with school and municipal contests. The McLennan Central Appraisal district will hold a countywide election to select three at-large members for its governing board, which will be expanded to eight members. The new requirement was approved as part of Proposition 4 in November’s constitutional amendment election and pertains to counties with more than 75,000 residents. view article arw

ORANGE COUNTY, Texas — The Beaumont Independent School District will submit closing arguments in appeal against the Texas Comptroller's office next week. This comes after the state didn't accept the district's property tax values, leading to a $6 million budget shortfall.  In June 2023, school board members voted to approve a budget that doesn't include teacher raises.  view article arw

AUSTIN, TX — Texas’ tax system is upside-down, with the wealthy paying a far lesser share of their income tax than low- and middle-income families. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), the tax code is the seventh most regressive in the nation, a stark contrast to “high-tax” states like California where families most able to contribute to the support of public services pay 12% of their income in taxes. ITEP’s comprehensive Who Pays? report is the only distributional analysis of tax systems in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report measures the effects of each state’s tax system on income inequality and includes key findings that demonstrate the impacts of a comparatively high reliance on regressive taxes, including: view article arw

AUSTIN — For the good news, a new poll shows broad bipartisan agreement among Texas voters when it comes to the actions of the Legislature. But the bad news is that a very healthy majority in both parties say that whatever lawmakers managed to accomplish during one 140-day regular session and the four 30-day special sessions that followed, it probably isn't going to improve their lives or make much of a difference across the state. That's not exactly a vote of confidence, as all 150 seats of the Texas House and half of the 31 Senate seats are up for grabs in 2024 and will be decided by what appears to be a very grumpy and cynical electorate. view article arw

When the legislative session began with an over $31 billion budget surplus, some amount of property tax relief was almost certainly a given. The battle between the House, the Senate, and Gov. Greg Abbott on how that relief would be distributed, however, proved a difficult one. While property tax relief was a legislative priority of Abbott, the House and the Senate were at odds all year on their approach to property tax relief. While the House advocated for stronger appraisal caps, the Senate supported an increase to the homestead exemption. Abbott, meanwhile, embraced a plan to use the money to help buy down—or “compress”—local school property taxes. The two chambers could not come to an agreement before the end of the session in May, so Abbott put property tax relief on the agenda for the first special session. The House quickly passed a bill to do just that—providing around $12.4 billion in relief solely in compression. They then adjourned “Sine Die” that day, meaning they would not return for the remainder of the special session—a move meant to squeeze the Senate into accepting their proposal. view article arw

LUFKIN — Few Texans understand the state’s complex property tax laws. So homeowners can be easily forgiven for wondering when and how promised tax cuts will show up in their wallets. More than 80% of Texas voters in the November election approved more than $18 billion in property tax cuts. Because the state doesn’t impose its own property taxes, it’s not as simple as it may sound. Voters actually approved a scheme in which local school districts must lower their tax rates with the promise that the state will make up the lost revenue. Voters, also prompted by state lawmakers, approved another amendment that increased the amount a person who lives in the home they own can protect from taxes, a mechanism known as the homestead exemption, and limit the amount property valuations can rise. view article arw

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has effectively thrown in the towel on a monthslong battle to buy or seize a 5,000-acre property that includes the now-closed Fairfield Lake State Park in Freestone County. Dallas-based developer Todd Interests purchased the land in June for about $103 million from Vistra Corp., a private power company that for decades had leased the portion containing the park to the state at no cost. Soon after, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department — which had turned down an opportunity to buy the entire property from Vistra — filed a petition to seize the property, located about 100 miles south of Dallas, through eminent domain. A Freestone County judge then appointed a panel of local landowners to set a fair market value for the property as part of the eminent domain process. The state could have taken immediate possession of the property if it agreed to pay that amount, but it balked at the panel’s price — $418.3 million, about four times more than what Todd Interests paid for the land a few months ago. view article arw

Fort Bend ISD officials canvassed the votes of the Nov. 7 tax rate election Nov. 16, making the results official. Passage of the proposition will provide funding for the district to comply with the state mandate to have armed security personnel on all FBISD campuses. It also means the district qualifies for additional state funding as a result, which will allow for more competitive staff salaries. view article arw

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – On Monday morning, Bay District Schools saw their 7th crash of the year involving school buses after a driver veered off of the road outside Arnold High School. According to the BDS, the crash was the result of an unforeseen medical complication. Out of those seven crashes, BDS drivers were at fault in four. “Typically, statistically speaking, less than one-third of the bus accidents in any given year are actually our fault,” said Director of Communication Sharon Michalik. So far this year, drivers are on pace to nearly double that rate. view article arw

COLLEGE STATION (Texas Real Estate Research Center) – Texas’ housing market slowed in February after persistently low mortgage interest rates contributed to record sales in the existing-home sector the previous month. "Sales activity was greatly hindered by February’s unseasonably wintery weather that caused power outages and water disruptions across the state," said Dr. Luis Torres, research economist for the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University. Existing-homes sold through the Texas Multiple Listing Services declined 16 percent from January, drawing even with year-ago levels. Despite slower sales, the state’s existing-home inventory fell below 1.5 months in February. The number of new listings that hit the market declined for the second straight month to their lowest reading since April 2020, when the state was under a stay-at-home mandate. view article arw

Texas makes mess of taxes

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Count on the Texas Legislature to come up with a painfully complicated and inefficient way to repeal a painfully complicated and inefficient tax. Lawmakers deserve praise for targeting the Texas Franchise Tax, but their methods are unsound. The franchise tax, also called the margins or business tax, ranks consistently as one of the worst taxes anywhere in the country. It was the convoluted response to the Texas Supreme Court declaring the public school finance system unconstitutional. Lawmakers had to lower property taxes to comply with the court order, so to find replacement funds they rewrote the franchise tax, what businesses pay for the privilege to operate in our great state. view article arw

The Dallas school board Thursday night voted against putting a tax ratification election before voters this fall. The proposed 13-cent tax hike would have given the district $100 million to fund early childhood education and early college high school programs. The district also wanted to expand a program that pays extra money to top teachers who take jobs in some of the district’s toughest schools. view article arw

Trustees of the Wylie Independent School District proposed a tax rate of $1.13 per $100 of property value for the 2016-17 fiscal year — a tax cut of 2.4 cents — and added more money to the proposed budget for teachers' salaries during Monday's regular board meeting. Trustees conducted their third of three workshops for the 2016-17 budget of $32.340 million and set a special meeting for Monday, Aug. 29, at 6:30 p.m. to receive comments from the public on the budget and tax rate and then consider approval. view article arw

Kilgore ISD tax rate in the air

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School trustees in Kilgore began their budget-writing season Monday with an overview of what is and isn’t known about financing the 2014-15 school year. view article arw