Officials from Del Valle ISD are weighing the benefits of a tax incentives deal that would encourage electric automaker Tesla to establish a presence in Southeast Travis County in exchange for academic and career training partnerships for the district.  Tesla has identified a 2,100-acre site along the Colorado River as a potential location for its next gigafactory, where the company’s new Cybertruck and other vehicle models would be produced. While Tesla simultaneously eyes the Tusla, Okla. area, Travis County and DVISD could propose incentive agreements that would soften the impact of Texas’ comparatively high property tax rates. Without such incentives, Tesla representatives have said a factory in Texas would not be economically feasible. view article arw

The prospect of offering California-based electric vehicle maker Tesla tens of millions of dollars in local tax breaks to build a $1 billion factory in Travis County is either a shrewd investment that will be a game changer for the region’s economy, or it’s a misguided giveaway to a rich corporation run by a billionaire.  Those were the dueling narratives that emerged during two public hearings, both held remotely: one by the Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, and the other by the Del Valle school board Thursday evening.  Neither jurisdiction has voted on incentive packages. The item is on the Commissioners Court agenda for this upcoming Tuesday, but commissioners may not take a vote. view article arw

HUNTINGTON — Huntington school trustees set the tax rate and adopted the budget for the 2020-21 school year on Monday night.  After a public hearing, the tax rate was set to $1.2269, a reduction of $0.0136 from the 2019-20 tax rate of $1.2405.  The maintenance and operation rate was set to $1.0547 — a compression of the rate from 2019-20 of $1.0683. Superintendent David Flowers said he expects the M&O rate to continue to go down over the next three years.  The interest and sinking rate was set to $0.1722. That rate may increase should the public vote for the bond proposal in the November election.  The budget was set to $16.730 million in revenue and $17.8 million in expenses.  Glenn Frank, assistant superintendent of business and operations, said $1.2 million of the budget has been set to cover the replacement of the roofs on the intermediate and high school campuses, which they anticipate pulling from fund balance.    (23) view article arw

State officials announced yesterday that students will return to public schools come fall, but provided few details. Almost three-fourths of parents surveyed in one district say they won't send their children back if it seems unsafe. view article arw

The claim: “Your taxes that you pay are no longer really dependent on your values, it is on their revenue growth.” — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Patrick made the claim in a May 24 television interview, in reference to a 2019 law adopted by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor.  PolitiFact ruling: Mostly False. The bill Patrick mentioned limited how much taxing entities can increase property tax revenue before triggering an election, but it did not change the role that property values play in any part of the calculation. Property values remain essential to the process.   (22) view article arw

Carthage ISD is planning to decrease its total tax rate by a hair and give all employees a 2 percent raise, on average, in next year's budget.  Right now the district is anticipating a total tax rate of $1.1964 — $0.9664 on the maintenance and operations side of the budget and $0.23 for the interest and sinking side of the budget. That's slightly down from the total tax rate of $1.21 from the 2019-20 school year. view article arw

DEL VALLE, Texas (KXAN) — Tesla is looking to build a 4 million to 5 million square-foot manufacturing plant in the Austin area, and it would like to build on land within the Del Valle Independent School District with more than $68 million in tax incentives, an application with the Texas Comptroller’s office says.  Tesla, owned by billionaire tech magnate Elon Musk, wants to put an electric vehicle manufacturing facility — a Gigafactory — at the intersection of State Highway 130 and Harold Green Road on about 2,100 acres, according to the application. The property is currently home to a concrete batch plant owned and operated by Martin Marietta. view article arw

In a bid to help lure Tesla to Central Texas, the Del Valle Independent School District is considering an incentives deal that could potentially save the electric automaker up to $68 million on its property tax bill over 10 years if it brings a major assembly plant -- and thousands of jobs -- to Travis County. view article arw

In a bid to help lure Tesla to Central Texas, the Del Valle Independent School District is considering an incentives deal that could potentially save the electric automaker up to $68 million on its property tax bill over 10 years if it brings a major assembly plant -- and thousands of jobs -- to Travis County.  The proposed agreement -- which was made public by the Texas Comptroller’s office Thursday -- calls for Tesla to build a 4 million- to 5 million-square foot facility that would eventually employ 5,000 or more workers on a site just off Texas 130 in Southeast Travis County. If the Del Valle school board approves the agreement and Tesla moves forward with the factory on the site, construction could start in the third quarter of this year, according to documents file with the Texas Comptroller’s Office. view article arw

The Spring Hill ISD board got its first look Monday at the 2020-21 school year budget, which proposes leaving the tax rate the same as last year and calls for an $800,000 surplus.  The board held its regular monthly meeting that also included a budget workshop. Even though the budget will not be passed until August, trustees started looking it over and can ask for changes until then.  The total proposed revenue for 2020-21 is $24.3 million with a total of $23.5 million in expenses, leaving about $800,000 in the district’s balance.  According to documents presented to the board, the proposed budget is based on a maintenance and operations tax rate of $1.0683 and an interest and sinking tax rate of 50 cents for a total tax rate of $1.5683 per $100 valuation, which is the current tax rate.  That tax rate means a $1,568.30 tax bill on a $100,000 home, with no exemptions claimed. view article arw

Sabinal Independent School District won its appeal against the state of Texas comptroller’s office, which valued vacant and commercial properties located within the school’s boundaries at approximately $14.2 million more than did the Uvalde County Appraisal District.  The 2019 State Comptroller’s Property Value Study reflects the state’s evaluation of appraisal districts that seeks to ensure that districts are not undervaluing or overvaluing properties by setting a benchmark where local values must come with 5 percent of the state’s values.  (11) view article arw

Taxes are not a fun subject for citizens or elected officials. Unfortunately, however, it is a necessary part of life, both for residents and for elected officials. Without taxes, there can be no local services such as police, fire, schools, teachers, libraries, parks, and other benefits citizens need, but often take for granted. Elected officials tend to view them from the opposite side of the spectrum as citizens. Taxpayers would prefer that every tax dollar they spend would provide three dollars worth of services, while elected officials usually find it is difficult to provide even a dollar’s worth of services for each tax dollar received. view article arw

Laredo City Council discussed on Monday the possibility of coalescing the area’s taxing entities to collectively lower their tax rates this year in order to provide relief to local property owners during this economic downturn and onslaught of unemployment. view article arw

"Significant declines in sales tax receipts were evident in all major economic sectors, with the exception of telecommunications services," Comptroller Glenn Hegar said in a statement.  Texas collected about $2.6 billion in state sales tax revenue in May, leading to the steepest year-over-year decline in over a decade, Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Monday.  The amount is 13.2% less than the roughly $3 billion the state collected in the same month last year. view article arw

Summer School Continues Online

June 0208:25 AM

This will be a challenging summer for educators who are transitioning summer school plans to the virtual formats they’ve adopted during Covid 19’s spring assault.  State officials are allowing face-to-face classes, out of concern for students and staff. The Texas Education Agency offered guidance to limit classrooms to no more than 11 people, to space desks at least six feet apart, to conduct temperature checks and consider having all employees don masks. view article arw

AUSTIN — The coronavirus outbreak is creating a budget crisis for Texas of historic proportions, as sales tax collections for the lock-down month of April slumped by the biggest percentage – 13.2 – seen in a decade and smaller sources of revenue such as hotel occupancy and booze taxes racked up their steepest declines on record.  On Monday, Comptroller Glenn Hegar released monthly tax-collection data that for the first time captured the fiscal carnage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The picture was grim.  As expected, sales tax, the state’s revenue workhorse, got clobbered.  Hegar said the worst loss of sales-tax revenue came in the oil and gas sector, and the separate state taxes on production of oil and natural gas saw revenue declines, respectively, of 75% and 76%.   (02) view article arw

  • Average homeowners' property tax bill from Blue Ridge ISD jumped over 15 percent from 2018-2019. #txlege #PropertyTax
  •  Average homeowners' property tax bill from Trenton ISD went down over 3 percent from 2018 - 2019. #txlege #PropertyTax

​Average homeowners’ 2019 property tax bills from 13 school districts in Collin County grew, even though Texas lawmakers passed reforms last year that allotted roughly half of the state’s surplus tax revenue to reducing school property taxes. School districts—which have not had in-person classes since mid-March—are now setting their budgets and tax rates for the upcoming school year. view article arw

The Sulphur Springs ISD Tax Office will be open to the public beginning Monday, June 1, 2020. SSISD Tax Office hours for the summer are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday.  Taxpayers will need to enter through door #2 at the southwest corner of the front of the SSISD Administration Building, 631 Connally St. view article arw

Katy ISD Chief Financial Officer Christopher J. Smith provided a 2020-21 budget update to the KISD board of trustees at the regular May 26 meeting.Unlike many other Texas school districts whose 2019-20 fiscal year ends June 30, KISD’s last day of the 2019-20 fiscal year is Aug. 31, Smith said. A public hearing about the new budget and tax rate will be held in August before the board votes on it, per his presentation.   Here are three things to know from the May 26 update. view article arw

Many Texas property owners are sweating potential increases in their taxes, which are based on property values that don't reflect a pandemic, an oil price collapse or a slumping economy.  Texans can now eat in shopping mall food courts, go bowling, drink in bars, eat in restaurants, watch rodeos, get their hair fixed — and get steaming mad about their property taxes.  One of those activities was never interrupted. But between the pandemic and the economic slump, property owners’ annual anguish over property appraisals and taxes has shifted.  Local governments that rely heavily on property taxes to pay for everything from public schools to police to parks are squeezed — but so are their taxpayers.   (27) view article arw

Northwest ISD is looking to trim millions in expenses for the 2020-21 school year to eliminate a budget shortfall. During a budget workshop Monday, Northwest ISD Superintendent Ryder Warren said the district must cut at least $7 million in expenditures off the projected $258 million budget. He said he will also recommend the district call a tax-rate election to generate approximately $15 million in revenue.  As of May 14 budget projections, the district was looking at a $27.3 million deficit. view article arw

EDINBURG — Three Rio Grande Valley congressmen are joining a growing chorus of elected officials calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to freeze 2020 property tax valuations as Texans continue to endure economic hardships on account of the coronavirus pandemic.  Ten members of the Texas Democratic Congressional delegation — including U.S. Reps. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, and Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo — sent a letter to Abbott on Wednesday requesting he suspend any raises, interest and penalties on property taxes for the current taxable year. view article arw

Leander ISD trustees will begin formal budget discussions at their May 14 meeting—and district officials are projecting a tax rate cut for the new fiscal year that begins July 1. The LISD property tax rate for the current budget is $1.4375 per $100 valuation. District officials are projecting a lower tax rate of $1.4162—resulting in a $0.0213 tax rate decrease. view article arw

DALLAS - Dallas ISD's superintendent said Tuesday his decision to hold virtual graduation is final and based on recommendations from the county health department. But some students, parents and even some school board members disagree with the decision and voiced their opposition. view article arw

FORT WORTH Tarrant property owners: You may be getting good news this year. In the midst of the economy-busting novel coronavirus, the values of more than half of the residential and commercial properties in Tarrant County stayed the same or went down.  “Everybody has been worried,” said Chandler Crouch, a real estate agent who helps people with their protests for free. “The last thing anybody wants is a huge property tax bill this year.” view article arw

McLennan County Appraisal District notices are hitting taxpayers’ mailboxes this week and carrying with them an average increase of 6.5% in the taxable value of their homes.  That increase compares to a 4.7% increase last year, 11.9% in 2018 and 5.9% in 2017. This year’s appraisals do not include any potential effects on home values caused by the COVID-19 crisis, because MCAD officials, as required by state law, made appraisals based on how things were Jan. 1.  MCAD Acting Chief Appraiser Joe Don Bobbitt said a few notices of appeals started trickling into the office Thursday, and he knows more will be coming as appraisal notices reach their destinations.   (8) view article arw

Beckville ISD’s estimated taxable value has increased by more than $11.5 million, a 3.35 percent increase moving from $333,124,170 to $344,658,523.  These estimates were provided to Beckville ISD by the Panola County Appraisal District, Beckville ISD Business Manager Charmaine Chappell said. view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott will allow barber shops and beauty salons to partially reopen Friday, and more businesses soon thereafter, as the state continues to ramp up COVID-19 testing and the percentage of Texans testing positive for the disease declines.  The governor said Tuesday that the outbreak has slowed to a manageable level, even as he warned that new infections and hospitalizations are likely to increase as restrictions are lifted. He encouraged people to continue wearing masks and maintaining physical distance from one another.   (7) view article arw

For the past several weeks, the comptroller has been referring to the state of the economy as a recession. The latest sales tax figures give the first glimpse of how much the economic downturn will hurt the state budget.  Texas collected $2.58 billion in state sales tax revenue in April — a roughly 9% drop from what the state collected the same month last year, Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Friday. That drop, from $2.8 to $2.58 billion, marked the steepest decline since January 2010, Hegar said. During a call with the Texas GOP on Thursday, Hegar emphasized how he thinks budget cuts will need to happen — and that, based on conversations with leadership, decisions on that could be made in the coming weeks.  “The governor and others … kinda needed to get through this month here to be able to get parts of the economy going back again,” he said, “and then we [can] look at what we should do.” view article arw

Sales tax revenue fell in April by just over nine percent, its biggest decline in a decade, the Texas Comptroller said Friday.  The historic drop is an early glimpse into the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, which forced Texans indoors and all but shuttered the economy. Sales tax is the largest source of funding for the Texas state budget.  Comptroller Glenn Hegar had warned of a steep decline, declaring last month that the state was entering a recession. April's 9.3-percent drop from the same month last year is likely just a preview of the damage to come, his office said Friday, since most of April's totals are actually from sales made in March.   (4) view article arw

Friday's biggest developments: Sales tax revenues expected to be released later today  Comptroller expected to release latest sales tax revenue figures — and says their drop is "unprecedented"  [5 a.m.] Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said on a Thursday call with the Texas GOP that his office will release on Friday state sales tax revenues for the past month. Hegar said his office would have normally held off on releasing the total until next week, but, as he noted on the call, “they are unprecedented numbers — how quick they have gone down.”   (1) view article arw

Kaufman and three other county school districts are caught in a dispute with the state comptroller’s office that could cost them more than a million dollars in revenue.   Even though property appraisals in the county, including the districts, have skyrocketed, the comptroller’s office says the values are still too low.   The county appraiser and the Kaufman, Kemp, Terrell and Wills Point school districts are appealing the state’s findings. They should hear the outcome in May.  view article arw

When the economic damage from the coronavirus and Texas’ shutdown is finally calculated, state, city and county budgets will be listed as casualties.  Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar plans to update the state’s revenue forecast by July, and he’s signaled that he’ll lower his estimate by several billion dollars. And since no one knows how quickly businesses and consumer spending will rebound, it is clear that tough times are ahead for the state. As Gov. Greg Abbott takes the next steps to reopen the Texas economy, he must also begin a frank, public conversation about the state’s looming budget challenges. view article arw

Magnolia ISD released a statement April 23 indicating that the board of trustees anticipates approving a 3 to 4 cent tax rate drop for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Erich Morris, assistant superintendent of operations for MISD, said in an email the reduction would take place in August after the board formally votes on the issue. “Given the funding associated with [House Bill 3], a drop in the district’s tax rate will not negatively impact MISD regardless of if/when the state makes cuts to district budgets,” he said view article arw

Wondering how the current economic situation will impact your schools?  There are hundreds of smaller businesses down the food chain. - js - Five of the largest energy companies posted billions of dollars in losses as the collapse of oil prices reduced the value of idled equipment by $30 billion — and dozens more companies are expected to do the same over the next two weeks.  Houston pipeline operator Kinder Morgan and oilfield service giants Baker Hughes and TechnipFMC on paper reduced the value of assets by a total of $20 billion as they reported combined quarterly losses of $13.6 billion.   (24) view article arw