he College Station school board has a Voter-Approved Tax Ratification Election [VATRE] proposition on the November ballot, which would go toward teacher, staff and administrative compensation in the district. “The result of it — if the voters were to approve it — would be that our employees would get significant raises out of this deal,” said Chuck Glenewinkel, director of communications for the College Station school district. “We compare ourselves to comparable districts. Some are comparable because they are close to us, and some of those are comparable because they are similar in size to us. So when we compare our teacher salary to those comparable districts, our teachers are paid on average 8% less than those in comparable districts. If this VATRE were to be approved, we would get that up to the 97-98% range to get us more in the ballpark of being comparable with those districts.”    (31) view article arw

School administrators across the Valley are coming together in setting a resolution to where South Texas ISD be removed from city property taxes. Administrators say this is has been an ongoing problem for many years. view article arw

Richardson ISD set a maintenance and operations, or M&O, tax rate that is the district’s lowest in 30 years, according to a Jan. 12 board of trustees meeting. Assistant Superintendent for Finance David Pate said during the meeting the district’s M&O tax rate will be $0.9646 per $100 valuation, which is 7.3% lower than last year’s operating tax rate of $1.0409 per $100 valuation. The portion of RISD’s tax rate used to pay principal and interest on bonds approved by voters, known as the debt service tax rate, remained unchanged at $0.35. view article arw

Trustees with the Brownsville school district on Tuesday approved a resolution taking aim at South Texas ISD’s funding structure after that district dug in its heels against a legislative push to eliminate its taxing authority, which began last week. Brownsville trustees voted to withdraw from STISD’s taxing district and to support legislation updating funding laws pertaining to the district, joining a group of critics that claim the district has strayed from its original mission and unfairly competes with original school systems. view article arw

Message from the Comptroller

January 1905:00 AM
 

As the new year begins, we turn our attention to the 88th Texas Legislature. Every legislative session presents Texas lawmakers with a variety of complex revenue and spending choices. Predicting the course of a complex and dynamic economy like Texas’ is a challenging task. While Texas' strong economic recovery continues, inflation and supply chain issues coupled with ongoing geopolitical unrest provide a measure of uncertainty. My office is ready to assist legislators and state leadership as they work to craft a budget and address a range of issues facing Texans across the state. view article arw

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott was sworn in for a third term Tuesday with a promise to usher in the largest property tax cut in state history, an appealing prospect for many Texans. But he also served up some red meat to the Republican base that helped propel his reelection, taking aim at the “indoctrination” of children in public schools. “Schools should not be pushing social agendas,” Abbott declared in a speech on the steps of the Capitol. Abbott’s remarks broke no new ground, and his policy goals largely mirrored his campaign pitch to voters. He touted Texas’ economic growth under his leadership and said people are coming here to flee “the oppression of high taxes” and red tape in other states. The three-term Republican directed his sharpest attack lines at President Joe Biden, continuing to accuse the Democrat of failing to secure the country’s southern border with Mexico. “With the Biden administration missing in action, Texas is using every tool to protect our state,” Abbott said to scattered applause from lawmakers, lobbyists and members of the public in the audience. view article arw

Two Hidalgo County school districts will consider this week pushing for legislative changes that could impact the funding formula of South Texas ISD and eliminate it as a taxing authority, potentially impacting some $30 million collected by that district annually. Trustees at the McAllen school district will consider action Monday while Edinburg trustees will discuss the same topic Tuesday. Those districts are not alone in their concerns. view article arw

Homeowners in Houston, San Antonio and many other Texas cities found something they don’t normally see in their property taxes last year: a tax cut. view article arw

Kilgore ISD announced Thursday that the district has reached a settlement in the years-long lawsuit alleging that the school overstepped its bounds when removing a homestead exemption in 2015. Through a homestead exemption, a homeowner doesn't have to pay taxes on the full value of the home if it's their primary residence. view article arw

The Texas Supreme Court declined Friday to intervene in a request from two renewable energy firms that say they’ll miss out on millions of dollars in tax savings from a program set to expire this year because an overwhelmed state agency failed to process their application in time. The Texas comptroller’s office had until Dec. 31 to get companies into the program, known as Chapter 313, and give them a 10-year discount on their property taxes. The two companies that went to the court, Stetson Renewables Holdings LLC and Ogallala Renewable Project LLC, submitted their applications for more than $20 million in tax savings in May 2022. Soon after, they received confirmation that their applications were received and they were eligible for incentives.    (04) view article arw

Amid pressure from community advocates, the Dallas schools administration pulled a vote to approve a property tax break for a manufacturing company just before trustees were to weigh in on it Thursday night. The Texas Economic Development Act – commonly referred to as Chapter 313 based on its position in the tax code – will expire at the end of the month. Companies across Texas are rushing to get deals approved with school districts and lock-in tax abatements ahead of the deadline. Hanwha Q Cells asked the school board to sign off on a tax limitation agreement, should it build a facility within the district boundaries. It was set to come up for a vote during the board’s last meeting of the year. But after a closed session briefing with trustees, Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde announced that the administration was pulling the item from the agenda. She said after the meeting that the process felt too rushed as the district needed more time to provide and work through information. view article arw

The Bynum ISD School Board voted 6-1 in support of a tax abatement for the OCI Solar Project. The vote came after nearly 45 minutes of local residents voicing their concerns and urging them to vote against it. One opposer who spoke out was John Blaha. He told 25 News a solar plant was added next to his farm in Abbott and he "knows firsthand what these things do to farmland." view article arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Independent School District board members are set to make an important vote this week that could give a billion-dollar semiconductor company millions of dollars in tax breaks. NXP, based in the Netherlands, already has two locations in Austin. They applied for Ch. 313 incentives with AISD in May, according to filings with the Texas comptroller's office. PREVIOUS: Chipmaking company seeks tax breaks from Austin ISD to expand facilities In its filings, NXP said they want to build a new, multi-story manufacturing plant that could be a $1 billion+ investment, and approval of their Ch. 313 application is a factor in determining if it lands in Austin or another state, or in Asia. view article arw

Days before the expiration of a state program that provides billions of dollars in property tax breaks to businesses moving to Texas, two companies have gone to court arguing they’re being frozen out from the last-minute savings due to an overwhelmed state agency. The two renewable energy companies say the Texas comptroller’s office, which reviews the applications to the corporate relocation or expansion incentive program, has denied their requests for more than $20 million in tax savings because the agency can’t handle the number of entities seeking approval for tax incentives before the Dec. 31 deadline. In 2021, the Legislature opted to let the program, known as Chapter 313, die after complaints that it amounted to “corporate welfare.” But companies approved for the savings in 2022 can still receive them for 10 years, and hundreds of companies seeking to beat the deadline have flooded the comptroller’s office with requests for the tax breaks.    (15) view article arw

Taylor ISD has approved Chapter 313 applications for both Samsung and Linde. The Austin Business Journal reports that during a Dec. 5 special meeting of Taylor ISD's board, trustees approved nine applications for Samsung Electronic Co. Ltd.'s potential $167.6 billion expansion and a single application for a $271 million project from Linde Inc. view article arw

December is typically a slow month for news. While my staff uses their very well-earned vacation time, I’ve been thinking about what we may — or may not — be writing about in 2023.  To be honest, the Register will probably stick with much of the same kinds of news and features we always emphasize, like city and county government, schools, small businesses, interesting citizens, high school sports and the like; in other words, local faces and local places.  One new wrinkle for 2023 will be the legislative session down in Austin. Our parent company, CNHI, has a sharp reporter based in Austin by the name of Ali Linan. You’ve no doubt seen her bylines from time-to-time here in the Register, and you’ll see more of them over the next several months as the state House and Senate craft a new budget. view article arw

During a Dec. 5 special meeting of the Taylor ISD board, trustees approved nine applications for South Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s potential $168 billion expansion and a single application for a $271 million project from Linde Inc., a major industrial gas company. view article arw

The Robstown Independent School District Board of Trustees approved a tax incentive package for Austin-based Tesla during a specially called meeting Dec. 5. The electric automaker may build a $375 million lithium refinery near Driscoll and requested tax abatements allowed under Chapter 313 of the state of Texas tax code. view article arw

The Denton ISD Council of PTAs joins Raise Your Hand Texas and Denton Chamber of Commerce in a meet and greet with newly elected state representatives at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Guyer High School Auditorium. Kronda Thimesch Kronda Thimesch view article arw

As Texas sits on a massive $27 billion surplus heading into the next legislative session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick advocated on Wednesday for a tight spending plan that would focus primarily on cutting property taxes.  The Legislature is constitutionally limited in how they can spend the surplus over the next two years, allowing lawmakers to tap into just $12.5 billion of those funds. There is a little bit of wiggle room if lawmakers get “creative,” Patrick said, but he stressed that the Legislature should build up the state’s reserves and fortify its rainy day fund.   Property tax relief is at the top of his spending priorities — and he’s asking lawmakers to again raise the homestead exemption, which offers homeowners a $40,000 break on school property taxes. Patrick suggested raising the number to roughly $65,000, but he’s leaving the specifics to state lawmakers who will debate property tax legislation when they return to Austin on Jan. 10.    (1) view article arw

ROBSTOWN — The Robstown Independent School District board unanimously passed a tax abatement package to offer electric automaker Tesla, which is eyeing a site in western Nueces County for a $375 million lithium refinery, during a specially called meeting on Monday. The vote came after board members asked two representatives of the Austin-based automaker a range of questions about the proposal, including its environmental impacts and permitting requirements, operations, location and water needs. After the meeting, school board members deferred questions about the vote to Superintendent Jose Moreno, who said the district is most excited about economic development to the area that could follow Tesla’s investment. view article arw

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — After seeing his property taxes rise by ten percent, Larry Abeln of Richardson, who's retired, hopes lawmakers will be in a giving mood when they meet early next year to consider a new budget. "As for property tax relief, I'd love to see it. If we could get a 20 percent relief, that would certainly help a lot, give us extra spending money." There is widespread agreement at the Texas Capitol to cut property taxes during the next legislative session starting in January. How much still has to be worked out. At a news conference at the Texas Capitol Wednesday, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said giving homeowners a break is his top priority. "The first thing we have to do is more property tax relief." There's a projected record surplus that may still grow larger. view article arw

Texas lawmakers have proposed a slew of bills that could introduce big changes to both the main funding mechanism for the state's public schools and the formula that calculates how much money individual school districts receive. The proposals come as some school districts are struggling in the post-pandemic environment to retain teachers and fight higher operating costs due to rising inflation. The proposals also come four years after House Bill 3, which passed in 2019, introduced a major overhaul of the state's public school funding, including increases to the per-pupil allotment and the reduction over time of the maximum tax rate districts can charge for basic operations. The tax rate – called the maintenance and operations tax – is the bulk of what Texas property owners pay in taxes to school districts. view article arw

Texas being flush with cash could make for some long nights for House Speaker Dade Phelan next spring. “It is a heck of a lot easier to pass a budget with a deficit than a surplus,” Phelan joked during lunchtime remarks to the Transportation Advocacy Group-Houston Region on Wednesday.  When Texas has deficits, he said, people come before lawmakers and quickly make their case but don’t stick around much to talk about their work. The longer they are in the hot seat in front of appropriators, the longer they need to defend themselves.  With a surplus, Phelan, R-Orange, said, officials looking for funding linger. Meetings stretch into the late evening.  “They need every single dime of that or they will cease to exist,” he joked.  Here are five numbers, in descending order, that Phelan cited that could view article arw

Austin ISD trustees met Nov. 9 to discuss a possible Chapter 313 agreement with NXP Semiconductors, which has locations in Southwest and East Austin. The state's Tax Code Chapter 313 value limitations allow businesses to enter into agreements with school districts to limit how much property taxes they pay for a set amount of time. The applicant agrees to build or install on a property and create jobs in exchange for this limitation. The agreement would reduce the amount of taxes the company pays and allow the district to keep about $75 million the district would otherwise lose to recapture over a 10-year period, said Jacob Reach, chief officer for governmental relations and board services, during the informational meeting. view article arw

Thousands of Hunt County homeowners will no longer see their county property taxes rise in the future. Hunt County Proposition A, the proposed tax freeze for senior citizens or disabled people with a homestead exemption, was approved by a landslide. Proposition A passed by 26,113 votes for to 2,722 against, or 90.56%-9.44%. The owner of a home with a homestead exemption will not see their Hunt County property taxes increase if the appraisal district’s records show they are over 65 or are legally disabled. Hunt County Chief Appraiser Brent South said the new county tax freeze will benefit just under 10,000 property owners. The appraisal district already has a database of those eligible for the freeze through the school district, South noted. Homeowners who will be turning 65 will need to apply for the freeze though the appraisal district. view article arw

CORPUS CHRISTI — Flour Bluff Independent School District’s voter-approval tax ratification, or VATRE election did not pass on mid-term election day. 65 percent of voters said no to a .9986 tax rate, a seven cent tax increase than what the state set for 2023. The rate would have been lower than previous ones, but it would have raised $3.4 million more because property values in the area have increased.    (10) view article arw

Unofficial results from all three counties show most ballots were cast in opposition of Katy ISD's proposition to sustain the maintenance and operations tax rate at $0.96 per $100 assessed property value, which would have bumped teacher and staff salaries by 4%. Instead, a combined 54.4% of voters in Fort Bend, Harris and Waller counties voted to reduce the maintenance and operations tax rate to $0.91 per $100 assessed property value, in line with state recommendations for the district not to collect any additional revenue than it did in the preceding year. The overall tax rate then, which combines both the maintenance and operations tax rate and the interest and sinking tax rate that funds new schools and facilities, is compressed at $1.30 per $100 property valuation. view article arw

Voters pass $71M Lockhart ISD bond

November 1005:00 AM
 

LOCKHART, Texas — More than 61% of voters chose to approve the $71 million Lockhart ISD bond on Tuesday's ballot, according to a report from the Lockhart Post Register newspaper. The Voter Approved Tax Rate Election, or VATRE, failed by 19 votes. However, the paper notes the VATRE could change once all of the mail-in votes are counted. The paper also notes the results are unofficial until certified, and Texas election officials have from eight to 14 days to do so. A special meeting will be held on Nov. 14 to canvas the votes. On Aug. 15, 2022, Lockhart ISD said its Board of Trustees called for a $71 million bond election with no school tax rate increase and a Voter Approved Tax Rate Election, or VATRE, for November 2022. view article arw

As of 11 p.m. on Nov. 8, most ballots were counted in opposition to sustaining the maintenance and operations tax rate at $1.35 per $100 of assessed property value for Katy ISD in the voter-approval tax rate election, according to data from Harris County and Fort Bend County. Harris County's numbers remain the same at 54.31%, while 18,794 voters in Fort Bend County, or 54.99%, have voted against KISD's proposition. Waller County data has not been posted as of press time. view article arw

Early voting results provided by Dallas County as of 9 p.m. Tuesday indicate a favorable result for Mesquite ISD’s proposed tax rate. According to the county, 11,137 (50.72%) votes are in favor of the $1.2864 per $100 valuation tax rate. If the rate is approved, Mesquite ISD will implement a three-year plan. In year one, safety and security measures will include access panels, alarms for doors that are open, security personnel dedicated to security and not shared duties, door cameras and safety bells, safety systems. Year two will mostly focus on teacher compensation and salary increases. With 41 vacancies in district, Rivera said the added compensation and salary increases are both aimed to attract more teachers with more compensation and provide a livable wage for teachers. view article arw

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - On the ballot in Plains, the school district is asking its voters to take a smaller tax break, that way more money can stay within the district instead of going elsewhere in the state. Plains I. S. D. has called a Voter Approved Tax Ratification Election, or VATRE. The proposition will look like this on the ballot: Plains ISD Voter-Approval Tax Rate Ratifying the ad valorem tax rate of $1.3455 in Plains ISD for the current year, a rate that will result in an increase of 97.08 percent in maintenance and operations tax revenue for the district for the current year as compared to the preceding year, which is an additional $9,059,279. Superintendent Robert McLain says the language on the ballot is required by law but is somewhat confusing. view article arw

On the ballot in Plains, the school district is asking its voters to take a smaller tax break, that way more money can stay within the district instead of going elsewhere in the state. Plains I. S. D. has called a Voter Approved Tax Ratification Election, or VATRE. The proposition will look like this on the ballot: view article arw

Pflugerville residents will be voting on eight school propositions this election. Pflugerville ISD Superintendent Douglas Killian says he's curious to see what voters end up supporting. “That’s why there’s kind of a smorgasbord of things for you to look at," he said. Early voting runs through Friday ahead of Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Here's what voters will decide on. view article arw

KATY – Voters living in the area of Katy Independent School District will soon vote on a tax rate election (TRE.) It would keep the rate the same and the school district says the extra money they gain would help some staffing shortages. But, Texas Senator Paul Bettencourt is opposed to the TRE and says keeping the rate the same would increase property taxes. School leaders with Katy ISD are calling on voters to approve it. Leslie Haack is the Deputy Superintendent for Katy ISD. “If this TRE is approved in November, it would continue to help Katy ISD provide the world-class education that it does for its students. It would specifically provide a 4% pay raises for all teachers and staff and hire an additional 10 police officers,” Haack said. Haack says if the TRE passes, Katy ISD would generate about $23,000,000.  Early voting will end on Nov. 4 and Election Day is Nov. 8.  To read more Katy ISD’s Tax Rate Election, click here.   view article arw