It’s no secret school finance is a complicated animal, with many different factors affecting funding, including how high Sulphur Springs ISD and other school districts may set the ad valorem rate. Lucas Janda with Live Oak Public Finance LLC discussed with SSISD Board of Trustees the “current tax practices” aspect of school finance, specifically the state’s values versus appraisal district values in Texas. Lucas Janda explains to the SSISD Board of Trustees how current tax practices in Texas can impact school district finances.    (18) view article arw

The next Humble ISD budget will fund teacher raises, lowers the property tax rate and supports student population growth in the district. The 2021-2022 fiscal year budget was approved on Tuesday evening by the school board during a special meeting. The property tax rate will dip nearly 4 cents to about $1.35 per $100 valuation in 2021. A resident with a home valued at $200,000 would save $76 on the Humble ISD portion of their tax bill. Overall, the tax rate has gone down from a high of $1.52 per $100 valuation in 2018. view article arw

Officials debated the pros and cons of cost-saving measures and increasing tax rates and revenue during a joint discussion between Hutto ISD and City Council. Glenn Graham, HISD Chief Financial Officer, gave a presentation during a June 10 meeting on the Hutto school district’s finance and tax structure, as well as the effect it has on the residents. Graham said the school district determines its tax rate through two rates: maintenance and operations, and interest and sinking. Maintenance and operations, or M&O, pays for the maintenance and operations of facilities. Interest and sinking, or I&S, pays for debt obligations on voter approved bonds. view article arw

Faced with a deficit budget for the upcoming fiscal year and possibly stagnant student enrollment, Pearland ISD leadership is banking on federal relief money and also hoping for post-COVID enrollment growth to fill in revenue gaps for the coming year. Additionally, the district will ask residents to approve a voter-approved tax rate election (VATRE) on Nov. 2 that would add 3 cents to the rate and mean approximately $7.5 million in additional state and local funding if successful. Before that, the district’s board will consider an option to add a cent to the rate later this summer to capture more state funding. view article arw

Over 20 years ago, the Texas Legislature passed the Texas Economic Development Act, which allows school districts to offer tax incentives for businesses that invest in their communities. The Act, commonly called "Chapter 313" because of its position in the Texas Tax Code, fundamentally improved the economic development landscape. Chapter 313 has been extended several times but is now set to expire December 31, 2022.  Chapter 313 gives school districts a mechanism for allowing 10-year limitations on appraised value for a portion of property taxes. In exchange for the value limitation and reduced liability, the recipient agrees to build or install new facilities and create jobs. The school district is reimbursed by the State.    (11) view article arw

The Smithville school board last week approved a 60-day extension to rule on a potential Chapter 313 agreement, or tax breaks, for a proposed $190 million solar farm that is planned to be built just south of Rosanky along Jeddo Road.  The school board voted 5-1 to approve the 60-day extension, giving itself until Aug. 9 to decide whether to approve or deny tax breaks for RWE Renewables, an international renewable energy company.  RWE is leading the proposed 1,700-acre solar project, with cutting and clearing of trees having already begun on the site where an electrical substation would be located as part of the project.  School board member Howard Burns cast the lone vote against the 60-day extension, while board President Grant Gutierrez abstained. Gutierrez works as the chief financial officer and controller at Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. view article arw

2001, state lawmakers and business leaders warned that the state’s high property tax rates were discouraging corporations from locating big projects in Texas. At the time, Site Selection magazine—a trade publication about economic development—showed Texas’ national ranking on new manufacturing plants had plummeted to 37th in the nation, and without a state income tax, the Lone Star State had no choice but to lean on sales and local property tax revenue to fund basic services like public education. In order to attract large manufacturing projects, lawmakers proposed allowing school districts to offer generous property tax abatement deals—with the state picking up the tab—as a way to lure companies to Texas. Proponents promised that good-paying jobs and long-term investment that came with those projects would more than make up for the cost of the tax breaks. view article arw

The Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees at a special meeting on Monday approved the publishing of proposed tax rates that will be considered at its planned 2021-2022 budget adoption meeting set for later this month.  At its June 28 meeting, the board will discuss a proposed maintenance and operations maximum compressed rate of 90.94 cents per $100 valuation, and an interest and sinking tax rate of 25.77 cents per $100 valuation.  If approved, the total tax rate of $1.1671 for 2021-2022 would remain unchanged from the current year.  The proposed tax rates under discussion are only estimates. The certified tax rolls are not due to Lockhart ISD until July 25. The final tax rate will not be calculated until the Texas Education Agency certifies the maximum compressed tax rate on or before Aug. 5. view article arw

The Austin City Council on Thursday unanimously approved an increase to the amount that older and disabled homeowners can reduce from their property taxes. The amount people with disabilities and those who are 65 or older can exclude from property taxes went up from $88,000 to $113,000. Speaking before the vote, Council Member Ann Kitchen said it was important to address the affordability challenges that older and disabled homeowners face. A speaker in favor of homestead exemption increases told council Thursday that his property taxes are now higher than his mortgage payments. “This situation has become untenable,” especially for retirees and people on a fixed income, the speaker said.    (07) view article arw

The La Vernia Independent School District (ISD) is proposing a tax rate of $1.29320 per $100 taxable property value, 3.5 cents lower than the current rate. The proposed rate includes 89.8 cents toward maintenance and operations, and 39.5 cents to pay off district’s debts, such as bonds. However, some homeowners might see higher tax bills, due to increasing property values, if the rate is approved.  The average market value of a home in the school district last year was $248,019. This year, the average value is $277,580. An average tax bill last year was $2,912.91; this year’s average bill, if the proposed rate is adopted, will be $3,109.38 — an increase in $196.47. view article arw

McKinney ISD is slated to receive about $16.5 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education to help address unexpected costs incurred during the coronavirus pandemic. With the funds, the district is proposing a $0.07 total tax rate decrease for the 2021-22 school year. Gov. Greg Abbott announced the release of $11.2 billion for Texas public schools from the third round of federal funding from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund in an April 28 press release. The funds will be used to help districts address student learning loss and costs incurred during the pandemic. Due to federal requirements, just two-thirds of the funding is available immediately, Abbott said, through grants administered by the Texas Education Agency. view article arw

Magnolia ISD residents could see a $0.06 decrease in the district's property tax rate this upcoming fiscal year to compensate for rising property values, Assistant Superintendent of Operations Erich Morris said during a May 10 board of trustees budget workshop. The tax rate will come before the board of trustees later this summer for approval. Under House Bill 3 approved by the Legislature in 2019, Morris said the only way districts can see increased revenue is from enrollment growth, as HB 3 dictates decreasing the tax rate as property values rise. Morris said he projects the district will see its taxable value grow 10% from fiscal year 2020-21 to 2021-22. “As property values go up, the tax rate goes down [and] the state makes up the difference,” he said May 10. “The overall revenue is exactly the same unless you’re increasing in enrollment.” view article arw

There are few things that unite Texans more than our disdain for property taxes. Politicians know this and exploit our hatred regularly for their own partisan gain, with some playing the role of warriors beating back the daunting foe. Last session, Republican leaders declared school finance reform the answer. This session, Sen. Paul Bettencourt crowed in a recent press release about advancing legislation to create statewide portal where Texans can more easily view proposed tax rates. “Taxpayers demand and need transparency in the entire property tax process!” Bettencourt shouted in bold type. We agree, so much that we think all lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats — should be transparent about the real reasons our property taxes are so high. It’s not only our soaring property values or Texas’ lack of income tax. view article arw

This is a good read.  Hope you can get access to it.  - js  - $1.1 million per job: Costs of state program keep rising Gov. Greg Abbott, center, criticized the Chapter 313 program six years ago when the tax incentives cost $341,000 per job. Since then, costs have more than tripled to $1.1 million per job.  When Houston lawmaker Jim Murphy tried to expand Texas’ most lucrative corporate tax incentive six years ago, Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed Murphy’s legislation, fearing it would cost taxpayers even more money.  “I cannot support expansion of an incentive program that has not been proven to deliver the value taxpayers deserve,” Abbott said at the time.  The governor complained that the state’s Chapter 313 program, named after a section of the Texas Tax Code that erases billions of dollars in property taxes for eligible companies, was costing taxpayers $341,000 for every permanent job it created.  His veto, however, didn’t slow the program’s growth. Since then, that price tag has more than tripled.     (17) view article arw

The state’s Chapter 313 program offers steep discounts on property taxes to attract big industrial projects that are supposed to pay off over the long term. But by the time these projects return to the tax rolls, much of that value has disappeared.  Asthe United States struggled to meet demands for fuel in the early 2000s, Motiva Enterprises decided to double the capacity of its oil refinery in the Gulf Coast city of Port Arthur on the Texas-Louisiana border. The refinery had been in Port Arthur for as long as Texas has pumped oil; in 1902, a year after the historic Spindletop discovery in nearby Beaumont led to the state’s first oil boom, the company that would later become Texaco built the refinery on 25 acres of land. Over the next century, the region became a central hub for the industry’s refineries and petrochemical plants.    (13) view article arw

Results from the May 1 general election show McKinney ISD voters have approved the district’s proposed increase to its property tax rate for maintenance and operations. Results show 65.5% of voters were in favor of the measure and 34.5% were not. The district will now lower the tax rate for its debt service, resulting in an overall property tax rate decrease of about $0.03. view article arw

Chapter 313, a decades-old law designed to lure companies to Texas with property tax breaks, expires in 2022. Lawmakers looking to renew it face opposition from critics who say it's unfair to many Texas schools. view article arw

When the Jefferson County Appraisal District worked out values for homes, businesses and utilities last year, it valued property far below what the state did in its biennial audit of property values across the state. As a result, school districts did not receive the same amount of taxes the state expected them to, putting some of them at a substantial loss.    (28) view article arw

A years-long legal battle over the collection of taxes in Kilgore ISD’s tax base may be edging closer to a conclusion, as attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the case have filed a “Motion to Compel” and a request for a status conference with Gregg Co. Court at Law No. 2 Judge Vincent Dulweber. The latest motion, filed on behalf of Gregg County taxpayers who allege KISD improperly collected tax revenues and seeks to bring all involved parties to the table to hash out the final dispensation of the case, including the appropriate distribution of tax refunds. Cause No. 2016-1850-CCL2, with plaintiffs Darlene Axberg, John Claude Axberg and Sheila Anderson is a suit filed against the entire KISD School Board, including past members no longer on the board, and Gregg County Tax Assessor-Collector Kirk Shields. The original suit has been expanded to a class-action lawsuit, pending class certification. view article arw

Van Vleck ISD Board of Trustees voted Monday to accept a 313-tax limitation application from a company seeking to build a solar farm within the district. Lavaca Bay Solar Project LLC is seeking to build a 250-megawatt solar project on leased property south of Cedar Lane with construction starting in 2022 and completed by December of 2023. The first year of the value limitation would be in 2024. view article arw

art school district officials hope to harness the power of the wind and the sun to propel the passage of a proposed $20 million bond issue. The major selling point for the bond issue, which Mart Independent School District residents will consider on the May 1 ballot, is that the district can fund a variety of major improvements without having to raise taxes, school officials said. Rather than a tax rate increase, the bonds would be paid off over 10 years with tax revenue from the Prairie Hill Wind Farm and the Roseland Solar Farm. If one or more of the proposals pass, the district’s tax rate will remain the same, second-year Mart Superintendent Betsy Burnett said. “The way school finance works, we don’t have a lot of opportunities to update the infrastructure of our district,” Burnett said. “So this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make some big-item changes for our students.” view article arw

AUSTIN – State Representative Jacey Jetton announces support for House Bill 59 by Chairman Murr and House Bill 958 by Chairman Oliverson. These bills take significant steps to reduce property taxes without cutting education funding. “Property taxes are out of control in Texas,” Jetton said. “It is unacceptable that an individual could be taxed out of their home due to ever-increasing property taxes. The Texas legislature must find a way to make meaningful reforms that will reduce property taxes without cutting funding to classrooms. I am proud to support House Bills 59 and 958, which will provide property tax relief by reforming the maintenance and operations portion of school funding. These bills take two different approaches to accomplish a similar goal, and I will support whichever bill makes it through the legislative process to provide relief to homeowners." view article arw

Residents in the Argyle school district are petitioning the town of Flower Mound in opposition to the proposed Furst Ranch development because they’re worried about the impact it would have on Argyle ISD and the area’s infrastructure. Furst Ranch is a 2,000-acre piece of land at the intersection of FM 1171 and Hwy 377. The longtime ranchland owner, Jack Furst, envisions an enormous mixed-use development on the land with an estimated 2,832 single-family homes, 520 townhomes, 760 condos, 4,000 apartments, 2 million square feet of business parks, 1.6 million square feet of office and nearly 1 million square feet of retail. While it’s mostly in the town of Flower Mound, it’s entirely in the Argyle ISD boundaries. view article arw

Tidehaven ISD could soon have an addition that would expand the district’s tax base. Leeward Renewable Energy Development, LLC is looking to build a solar farm on 2,000 acres in Matagorda County, with a portion of the project located in Tidehaven ISD. The district’s board of trustees Monday voted to accept an application from the company for a tax abatement that would span a 10-year period. view article arw

SB 1438 Introduced

April 0908:40 AM
 

- Relating to the effect of a disaster on the calculation of certain tax rates and the procedure for adoption of a tax rate by a taxing unit.  S.B. 1438 seeks to clearly codify when the disaster exception would apply and for how long. In addition to the area being declared a disaster, S.B. 1438 adds that the disaster caused physical damage to property located in the taxing unit in order to be able to calculate at the eight percent voter-approval rate. Additionally, S.B. 1438 puts a timeframe on how long a taxing unit may use the higher rate. It is the earlier of the first year in which the total taxable value of property on the appraisal roll exceeds the total taxable value of property on January 1 of the year the disaster occurred or the third tax year after the tax year the disaster occurred in that taxing unit. view article arw

The McLennan County housing market has not slackened a year into the pandemic, and homeowners are about to find out growth in appraisal values has not slowed.  The McLennan County Appraisal District will mail out residential appraisal notices April 5, and officials estimate homeowners will see an increase of 12% to 15%. The increase will be even more for homeowners in McGregor Independent School District, where state officials determined property values have been appraised at too much less than market value. view article arw

Corsicana ISD Trustees approved a tax value limitation agreement with the Pisgah Ridge Solar LLC. The State Comptroller has certified and accepted the project, and the proposed agreement between Corsicana ISD and Pisgah Ridge Solar LLC. The project encompasses 3,688 acres near the Pisgah Ridge area. The anticipated total investment in the project is $200 million. The project is expected to be fully operational by 2023. As part of the findings the Board agreed to waive the ten-job requirement normally included in these types of agreements which are part of chapter 313 of the Texas Tax Code, which allows for a 10-year limitation on the taxable property value tied to the maintenance and operations tax 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

May 1607:45 AM
 

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

June 2407:38 AM
 

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