Local governments in Texas have spent the summer preparing their budgets for next year, wrestling with inflation and a law that prohibits them from raising property tax revenues beyond 3.5% without voter approval.  Every summer, Jasper County Judge Mark Allen begins to worry about two very different storms brewing: hurricanes and his county budget.  Allen and thousands of other local government officials across Texas entered this year’s budget season facing historic rates of inflation along with severe labor shortages. Complicating the budget process, counties and other taxing bodies say they can’t raise taxes to cover the growing costs of employee salaries and raw materials because their hands are tied by public pressure and recent legislation.  “It’s a situation where local governments are having to start siphoning off their emergency reserves, or just not be able to provide services to people,” said Allen, who has been the East Texas county’s top elected official for more than 15 years. “We’re losing quality personnel to the private sector, where they go out and try to find better-paying jobs and better benefits.” view article arw

What Texas editors are saying

September 2608:40 AM
 

Let us rephrase it. A section of the Texas tax code that is used by local governments as lucre to attract corporate relocations but that often ends up pitting city against city and school district against school district is set to expire. Based on hearings last week, there will likely be calls to reinstate it in the next Legislature. That would be a mistake. Chapter 313, passed into law as the Texas Economic Development Act, allows local taxing entities like independent school districts to offer tax incentives. Since it began in 2002, the program has grown so that now it accounts for almost $1 billion in tax breaks, with hundreds more companies rushing to apply before the program ends. According to a June 30 report from the Texas Comptroller’s office, there are 633 active Section 313 deals worth a potential $17 billion. The idea here is sound: Give school districts a tool for growing their tax base. But it isn’t working. With no cap on them, tax abatements have become an arms race. view article arw

Flour Bluff ISD is asking voters to approve a new tax rate in November to fund pay increases for teachers and staff and safety and security initiatives across the district. The proposed tax rate is lower than the previous year's tax rate but essentially represents an increase, as it would raise an additional $3.4 million due to increasing property values. view article arw

A county official joined the Navarro School Board and several residents in voicing their concerns to the Seguin City Council over the city’s partnership to build an apartment complex with a 75-year tax exempt lease. Guadalupe County Judge Kyle Kutscher expressed his issues on Tuesday in Council Chambers over the city’s deal with Vaquero Ventures to build Lily Springs Apartments, the lack of transparency and communication and the tax implications that come with the deal struck. “We have great partnerships between the city of Seguin and Guadalupe County,” he said. “We want to continue to foster those partnerships for the betterment of all citizens in Seguin and Guadalupe County, but I also feel obligated to stand in front of you tonight to voice my concern in opposition to the project.” view article arw

DALLAS, TX — When you’re in the market for a new place, hunting down every new listing in the area can be a wearisome job. That’s why we here at Patch have stepped in and done the prepwork for you. Here’s a sampling of the newest batch of houses to hit the market in and around Dallas — such as one in the Fort Worth area for $6,124, and another in the Denton area with 4 beds and 2 baths for $438,340. view article arw

Mesquite ISD Superintendent Angel Rivera is visiting campuses this coming week to explain the district’s plans if community members approve the proposed $1.2864 per $100 valuation. Rivera said that while the district is looking to garner three “golden pennies” from the state in its maintenance and operations fund, it has lowered its interest and sinking rate by four cents. With these “golden pennies” from the state, if approved, Mesquite ISD will receive $3.7 million in local funding and $12.7 million in state funding. If the rate is approved, Mesquite ISD will implement a three-year plan.    (23) view article arw

The La Vernia Independent School District (ISD) is working to address a trend many school districts across the country are facing — teacher retention. Director of Human Resources Natalie Farber outlined the number of employees lost by the district during the 2021- 22 school year at the district’s board meeting Sept. 12. According to Farber, La Vernia ISD lost a total of 88 employees. The majority of those who left were faculty and staff, mostly at the high school, who went to other districts. Slightly more than half of those who exited the district opted to leave the education field to either stay home, pursue another line of work, or retire, said Farber. view article arw

Humble ISD trustees approved a 4.6 cent property tax rate reduction for 2022 at their September board meeting, bringing the district’s new rate to $1.2929 per $100 valuation. But the decades low rate won’t necessarily mean a smaller tax bill for taxpayers. Four years ago, the tax rate was $1.52. Since then, the district’s tax rate has dropped each year due in part to Texas House Bill 3 passed in 2019. Led by State Rep. Dan Huberty of Humble, the bill brought major changes to school finance and tax rate calculations for school districts including increased state funding for schools and property tax reductions. view article arw

HARLETON — Harleton ISD trustees recently adopted a decreased tax rate and deficit budget for the 2022-23 fiscal school year.  The trustees approved an adopted total tax rate this year of $1.0129 per $100 of home valuation, which is down about six cents from last year’s total rate of $1.0821 per $100 of home valuation.  This year’s total tax rate is made up of a maintenance and operations rate of $0.9429 and an interest and sinking rate of $0.07, for a total decrease of $0.0692 from last year’s tax rate.  Harleton ISD trustees also recently adopted about a $400,000 deficit in its general fund budget for the 2022-23 fiscal school year.  Harleton ISD Superintendent Jay Ratcliff said the district’s general fund revenue came in at about $8.6 million and the expenditures are about $9 million for a total deficit of about $409,000. view article arw

After public comment where one person spoke earlier this week, the Midlothian Independent School District Board of Trustees entered into a closed session to discuss the fiscal year 2022/2023 tax rate options. The tax rate will be voted on by the school board at the September 19 meeting. view article arw

Brownsville ISD delays setting tax rate

September 1608:24 AM
 

The Brownsville Independent School District Board of Trustees stopped short of setting the tax rate for 2023 when it voted at a meeting Tuesday to table the matter pending a review of projects that could be put on hold and asked administration to prepare a revised proposed tax rate. On a 4-3 vote, the board initially approved a 2022 tax rate before going into closed executive session. Trustees Denise Garza, Prisci Roca Tipton, Eddie Garcia and Daniela Lopez-Valdez voted in favor. Drue Brown, Jessica Gonzalez and Minerva Pena voted no. After returning to open session, the board rescinded the previous vote and voted 5-0-2 to ask for the review and new proposed tax rate. Trustees Denise Garza, Prisci Roca Tipton, Eddie Garcia, Minerva Pena and Daniela Lopez-Valdez voted in favor. Drue Brown and Jessica Gonzalez abstained. After the vote Garza asked Superintendent Rene Gutierrez to provide the board with detailed information on the district’s bonded debt, which he said he would do. view article arw

The Holliday ISD School Board approved a total tax rate of $1.2529 per $100 value at the scheduled board meeting on Monday, Sept. 12. The Maintenance and Operation (M&O) rate was set at $0.9429 while the Interest and Sinking (I&S) rate remained at $0.31 to give the combined rate of $1.2529. The rate is effectively a 5.46% increase in tax rate due to an increase in property values. … view article arw

GOP members skip county tax vote

September 1408:40 AM
 

Harris County’s two Republican commissioners skipped the Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday, preventing county leaders from passing a property tax rate and proposed budget for the next fiscal year beginning on Oct. 1. State law requires four members of the court be present to set the tax rate. With only the court’s three Democrats present, the county was forced to adopt what is known as the no new revenue rate, a levy that brings in the same amount of property tax revenue as last year. Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle did not attend the meeting, stopping the court from voting on what already was to be a slightly lower overall property tax rate, or the proposed budget based on that rate. view article arw

TEMPLE, Texas (FOX 44) – For the fifth consecutive year, the Temple Independent School District board of trustees has voted to lower the district’s tax rate. Trustees voted to drop the tax rate by 1.5 cents at the board’s meeting Monday night, September 12, and the tax rate remains at the lowest level for TISD since the 2010 tax year. The board set the new tax rate at $1.2203 for the upcoming year with $0.9105 designated for the purpose of maintenance and operations and $0.3098 designated for the purpose of payment of debt service even after the initial bond sale of $100 million. TISD has now lowered its tax rate by a total of nearly 18.0 cents over the past five years. The district was able to lower the rate primarily due to three factors: selling only a portion of the 2022 bonds, an increase in property values within the district and bond refinancing that lowers debt service costs. Temple ISD is also operating at 6.4 cents under the state allowed cap for maintenance and operations this year. view article arw

The program, referred to as Chapter 313 after its section in the state’s tax code, was designed to incentivize businesses to set up shop in Texas by offering 10-year property tax breaks. A bipartisan group of legislators ensured that what has become Texas’ largest corporate tax incentive program would not continue after it’s set to expire at the end of 2022. The impending end of Chapter 313 has touched off a rush of applicants, state officials testified at a legislative hearing this week, as the state’s energy and manufacturing companies try to lock in massive property tax breaks before time runs out. “We anticipated that there would be some amount of uptick,” Korry Castillo, associate deputy comptroller for the state, told the Texas House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday. “I will cut to the chase and say it is way more than what we anticipated.” view article arw

JEFFERSON — Jefferson ISD Superintendent Rob Barnwell said the district’s trustees recently adopted a balanced budget and decreased tax rate for the 2022-23 fiscal school year. Jefferson ISD trustees recently adopted about a $13.8 million balanced budget for the 2022-23 fiscal school year, Barnwell said. This year’s budget was based on a student enrollment of about 1,135 students. The budget also included the purchase of one new school bus, at a cost of about $100,000. The budget also included a three percent raise for all non-teaching staff and included the costs of meeting the state’s requirement for minimum mandatory teaching salaries for all teachers, he said. The trustees also adopted a decreased total tax rate of $0.9855 per $100 of home valuation. This year’s total tax rate is made up of $0.9308 for maintenance and operations and $0.0547 for interest and sinking. This year’s total tax rate of $0.9855 is down from last year’s total tax rate of $1.0435 per $100 of home valuation. view article arw

Beaumont and Port Arthur residents likely won't see significant changes in their education-related tax rates for the upcoming year. Beaumont and Port Arthur ISDs have set their tax rates for the upcoming fiscal year. Two rates make up the overall district tax rate -- the maintenance and operations rate and debt service. Beaumont ISD at their August board meeting set it at the same overall rate as last year -- $1.16151. view article arw

Question: Bonds and tax ratification elections are likely going to come up in 2023 and 2024. How do you approach the conversation and where can the board do better than what other boards did in the last eight years? -- There is no question that the facility needs for MISD are great. Our students need: - 1) comprehensive high schools that can accommodate ninth through 12th on one campus and cut down on the time students spend on buses and travel between campuses and facilities for extracurriculars. - 2) Additional elementary schools for the continued growth in Midland, specifically an elementary school somewhere along the 349 corridor north of the loop. view article arw

A group of state lawmakers appeared receptive Thursday to reviving Texas’ biggest corporate tax break, known as Chapter 313, as proponents warned that its impending end will make it harder to attract new business.  The controversial incentive program lets manufacturing and energy companies slash 10 years worth of school property tax bills they otherwise would owe on new projects, and is slated to end in January after the Legislature opted to kill it last year.  Companies have flooded the comptroller’s office with last-minute applications as it winds down, hoping to get cash in on projects that, in some instances, aren’t expected to be operational for nearly 20 years. view article arw

During its Aug. 29 meeting, the LDISD Board of Trustees approved the 2022-2023 budget and tax rate. Proposed Tax Rate M&O Tax Rate $0.9429 I&S Tax Rate $0.50 Total Tax Rate $1.4429 For more information, visit the tax rate and budget page at Business Office / Proposed Budgets/Tax Rates (ldisd.net). view article arw

Fort Bend ISD administrators have opted to delay the district’s largest bond ever as it instead will focus efforts on getting a voter-approval tax rate election, or VATRE, approved in the upcoming Nov. 8 general election. During FBISD’s Aug. 15 meeting, district officials announced their intent to delay the $1.18 billion bond until May 2023, and the board of trustees formally approved the VATRE when it called the tax rate election during its Aug. 22 meeting. “We don’t want to do anything that would take away the focus from the No. 1 priority of a VATRE,” FBISD Deputy Superintendent Steve Bassett said. “While there are some risks to postponing the bond, we do think that we can address those risks.”    (13) view article arw

Jacksboro:  JISD GETS UPDATES

September 0808:30 AM
 

Jacksboro ISD board members approved the 2022-23 budget and tax rate during a special called meeting Wednesday, Aug. 31. The $13,259,158 budget is balanced, according to Business Manager Christy Thomas. She said few changes were made from the preliminary budget submitted to the board earlier in the month. There some instructional aides added to the next fiscal year budget along with the purchase of some athletic uniforms. Some were able to be paid out of the 21-22 budget, but some will not arrive until the next fiscal year. The addition of a new bus and SUV for the district is done every year, Thomas said, at a cost of about $130,000. Thomas said the Transportation Department has the option to rotate vehicles out every year if it sees fit. view article arw

Muenster Independent School District (MISD) school board met Wednesday to approved its tax rate for the 2022-23 school year. One of the main concerns for the board was better understanding and reducing Recapture, also known as the money the school has to pay to the state if they collect more funds than the state deems reasonable for the size of the school. “Sometimes when I talk to boards of trustees, they note that there are those in the community that go, ‘You know what? If you want to reduce our recapture, just reduce the tax rates,’ and that can be true, but not always,” explained Christy Rome from the Texas School Coalition, who gave the presentation to the board. view article arw

The Lindale ISD Board of Trustees recently approved lowering the district's tax rate. At a special called meeting, the board adopted the 2022-2023 school budgets and set the district’s new tax rates. The board approved a budget of $43,307,583 before adopting a total tax rate of $1.1696 per $100 valuation. The adopted tax rate is 2.24 cents lower than last year’s tax rate. “The Lindale community is fortunate to have a great school board that manages the tax rates so effectively,” said Superintendent Stan Surratt. “The LISD Board of Trustees has cut the total tax rate more than 22 cents over the last four years. To cut the tax rate, again, while managing the growth of the district is a wonderful blessing for Lindale property owners.” view article arw

The Cuero ISD Board of Trustees held a special called meeting on Wednesday, August 31, as it marked the last day of the fiscal year for the 21-22 budget. The meeting centered around voting on the freshly formulated 22-23 budget as well as voting on the proposed tax rate. The board voted unanimously to lower the tax rate by close to $0.32 cents. This year’s tax rate will go from $1.63680 last year to $1.31835. The maintenance and operation is now set at $0.85460, while the interest and sinking fund (I&S) was adopted at $0.46375. view article arw

The Plano ISD board of trustees unanimously approved the sale of 5.6 acres of district-owned land for $6 million during its Aug. 2 meeting. The plot of land at 3540 14th St. was the location of the district’s Shiloh Center. PISD had owned the property since 1997 when it was bought from Albertsons for just under $2 million, officials said. In October of last year, the board declared the 56,000-square-foot facility as surplus property and contracted with real estate company CBRE to put it on the market. “One of the things that we try to do is make the determination going forward: Is this a facility that is worth long-term invested money?” Deputy Superintendent Johnny Hill said of the decision to sell the property. “Or is this something we can be more efficient in by selling that property and living within the structures of facilities that we currently already have?” view article arw

The Beckville ISD Board of Trustees put their final stamp of approval on the district’s $8.184 million budget on Monday. To fund the budget an overall tax rate of $1.13738 per $100 property valuation was approved for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. That rate includes 85.46 cents for maintenance and operations and 28.278 cents per $100 value for bond indebtedness tied to a $17 million bond approved by district voters this past spring. view article arw

Corsicana ISD adopts reduced tax rate

September 0208:30 AM
 

Corsicana ISD Trustees voted to adopt the 2022-2023 total tax rate of 1.162% per $100 of taxable valuation at their Aug. 29 meeting. That total rate includes an interest and sinking, or debt service, rate of $0.25530 and a Maintenance and Operations tax rate of $0.90670 per $100 of taxable valuation.  “That is a significant reduction in the tax rate,” said Leah Blackard, CISD Board of Trustees Vice President.  The Board also approved a positive 2022-2023 fiscal year budget, with revenues projected to be $57,844,870 and expenditures projected at $57,598,628.  Superintendent Dr. Diane Frost congratulated both the football and cross-country teams on recent success. view article arw

Chico ISD dropped its tax rate for the 2022-23 school year to under $1 Tuesday. The school board approved a tax rate of 99.5 cents per $100 of taxable value, which includes 85.46 cents for maintenance and operations and 14.04 cents for debt service. That represented an 8-cent decrease in the tax rate for the second year in a row. Property values in the district increased 27 percent this year, increasing the average taxable value of a home from $161,273 to $173,963. The average taxpayer will see a decrease of $9.19 per year in taxes based on the new rate. view article arw

BULLARD, Texas (KETK) – At a special called meeting Tuesday, the Bullard ISD Board of Trustees adopted the 2022-2023 school budgets and set the districts new tax rates. Bullard ISD thanks community for support in bond election The board approved a 2022-2023 budget of $27,533,900 before adopting a total tax rate of $1.4346 per $100 valuation. The adopted tax rate includes a maintenance and operation (M&O) rate of $0.9346 and an interest and sinking (I&S) rate of $0.5000. Compared to the 2021-2022 adopted tax rate, the M&O rate decreased due to rising property values. The increase comes in the I&S rate as planned with the $103 million bond package voters approved in May. The bond package provides a new middle school campus, campus additions at the Primary, Elementary, and High School campuses, renovations to our current middle school campus, and new baseball, softball, tennis, and a multipurpose facility view article arw

The Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees on Monday adopted its tax rate and budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year. The tax rate was approved at $1.3268 per $100 valuation, which is a decrease from the current tax rate of $1.3442. Despite the reduction, residents’ property tax bills may be higher if the value of their property increased. Of the $1.3268, the maintenance and operations (M&O) portion of the rate will be $0.9429, a 1.8-percent decrease from the current rate, and the interest and sinking (I&S) rate will be $0.3839, which is flat from this year. The M&O rate decrease is due in part to the tax rate compression requirement of House Bill 3 passed in 2019. Since the 2018-19 school year WISD’s total tax rate has dropped 22 cents from $1.5539 Budget.    (31) view article arw

Lewisville ISD lowers tax rate

August 3108:30 AM
 

Monday night, the Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees approved the district’s budget for the 2022-23 school year and adopted a tax rate that is $0.07 lower than last year’s, from $1.3085 to $1.2368 per $100 in taxable value. In an update from Superintendent Dr. Lori Rapp published online Tuesday, Rapp said the district “will continue our work to always be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.” She said the budget prioritizes classroom instruction, safety and security, and pay raises to keep LISD competitive with surrounding districts. LISD allotted an additional $3 million to expand its safety and security team and add additional school resource officers throughout the district. Rapp said that when the Texas Legislature reconvenes in the spring, the district will advocate for common sense updates to school funding view article arw

Last week, the Northwest ISD Board of Trustees approved a tax rate that will be the lowest for district taxpayers in more than a decade. The board unanimously approved a maintenance and operations tax rate of $0.8546, which combines with the interest and sinking tax rate of $0.42 for a total tax rate of $1.2747, down from the 2021-2022 total tax rate of $1.292, according to a district news release. “I’m pleased that our continued growth has allowed us to maintain a low tax rate for our community,” said Gilberto Prado, NISD’s chief financial officer. “Our finance team does an outstanding job diligently creating fiscally sound budgets that are transparent, and we will continue to wisely use our taxpayers’ investment in local children.” view article arw

Those coming to Texas for a tax break may want to turn around if they are not in the top 1 percent of earners.  A recent post on Reddit's main economic forum included a 2018 graphic that shows Texans pay more taxes than Californians unless they are in the top 1 percent. The post is one of the highest-rated in the last month on the social media platform. It is unclear why the post was shared now.   (29) view article arw

Slocum Independent School District’s Board of Trustees voted to lower tax rates at the district’s regular meeting Monday after conducting budget and tax hearings. The total tax rate was set at $1.1150, or $0.163 lower than the previous rate of $1.1313. The change occurred with the board’s resolution to set Maintenance and Operation tax rate funds at $0.9563 and the Interest and Sinking tax rate funds at $0.1587. Under the current resolution, the M&O tax rate went down and the I&S tax rate went up. Superintendent Cliff Lasiter said many property owners will be relieved by the reduction in tax rates due to recent increases in property values. view article arw