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Posts Tagged ‘property taxes’

The lost Harvey tax break

I have mixed feelings about this. Owners of nearly 300,000 homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey in Texas won’t see any break in their property taxes because of political wrangling this year in the state Legislature over completely unrelated issues – including, one Houston Republican says, the bathroom bill. A property tax reform bill that would […]

You don’t have to attend those tax rate hearings now

They’re not a thing any more. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday said he would withdraw a proposed property tax rate hike after Gov. Greg Abbott handed him a check for $50 million to help fund the city’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey. That also likely means few public hearings on the proposed rate hike, which would have been the first from […]

Houston gets state recovery funds, property tax rate hike shelved

Was that so hard? I ask you. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday said he would withdraw a proposed property tax rate hike after Gov. Greg Abbott handed him a check for $50 million to help fund the city’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey. The exchange came as the mayor and governor held a joint City Hall […]

Harris County considers its budget post-Harvey

They have some choices, and some constraints. Harris County government departments could see their budgets reduced by up to 5 percent as property taxes take an expected dip due to Hurricane Harvey’s widespread destruction. The estimate is preliminary, County Budget Officer Bill Jackson said Friday. The extent of an anticipated decrease in property tax revenues […]

Abbott has no interest in helping Houston

So much for that. If the state taps into the Rainy Day Fund to help with recovery following Hurricane Harvey, it won’t be until the next legislative session, Gov. Greg Abbott said during a news conference Tuesday. Abbott’s announcement comes after Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote to the governor asking the state to use the […]

Mayor Turner lowers tax rate hike amount

I’m sure we’re all glad to see this. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Wednesday said the temporary property tax rate hike he has proposed would be cut in half after federal officials approved his request to increase reimbursement for the city’s Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. Turner earlier this month had pitched an 8.9 percent increase for […]

Paul Bettencourt advocates doing nothing to rebuild after Harvey

He has nothing constructive to offer, that’s for sure. One of the top Republicans leaders in the Texas Legislature is slamming the city of Houston and other local governments for trying to raise taxes on homeowners in the name of hurricane recovery. And he’s certain the increase will provoke a response of some sort from […]

HISD may get a recapture reprieve thanks to Harvey

Talk about a mixed blessing. The Houston Independent School District may be able to avoid paying part – or perhaps all – of its over $100 million state-mandated recapture payment. The potential reprieve comes after a school board lawyer found a state law allows districts that suffer storm damage to use recapture dollars to help […]

Harris County may do Harvey bonds

Turns out Harvey recovery will cost money. Who knew? A majority of the Harris County Commissioners Court on Wednesday said they would support a large bond issue, perhaps upwards of $1 billion, and a tax increase to pay for it. The bond issue would bolster cash-strapped flood control initiatives, which could include a improvements to […]

Council to hold hearings on proposed tax rate increase

Here’s your chance to be heard. Houston City Council set the ball rolling Wednesday on Mayor Sylvester Turner’s proposed 8.9 percent tax rate hike to help fund Houston’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey, in what would be the first hike from City Hall in more than two decades. The council voted to schedule three public hearings […]

Mayor seeks one-year tax hike for Harvey cleanup

This stuff isn’t going to pay for itself, you know. Mayor Sylvester Turner will ask City Council to approve an 8.9 percent hike in the city’s tax rate this fall to help Houston recover from Tropical Storm Harvey, in what would be the first tax rate hike from City Hall in more than two decades. […]

Let’s play two?

Oh, God, please, no. Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday put blame on the House — particularly Speaker Joe Straus — for the shortcomings of the special session and left the door open to calling another one. “I’m disappointed that all 20 items that I put on the agenda did not receive the up-or-down vote that […]

Smell ya later, Senate

How about that? The special legislative session is over — in one chamber, at least. The Texas House abruptly gaveled out Sine Die – the formal designation meaning the end of a session – on Tuesday evening after voting to approve the Senate’s version of a school finance bill that largely stripped provisions the chamber […]

House passes school finance bills

I doubt they’ll meet a different fate than they did in the regular session, but kudos anyway. The Texas House on Friday passed a package of bills that would put $1.8 billion into public schools and help out struggling small, rural school districts. House members voted 130-12 to approve the lower chamber’s main piece of […]

House committee hears largely pointless property tax bills

Something will probably come out of this, but it’s hard to understand why. A Texas House committee on Tuesday spent more than seven hours plowing through more than 30 bills that aim to tackle rising property tax bills — months after similar legislation died amid an intra-GOP war over how conservatively state officials should govern. […]

War on local control update

Example one: Sen. Craig Estes’ Senate Bill 18 would require cities and counties to get voter approval if they plan to spend a certain amount more than they did in a previous year. His bill ties such an election trigger to inflation and statewide population growth. “You ask people about that and they generally think […]

What West Texas can do to improve their schools

Here’s an op-ed from the Statesman about one educator in West Texas who has had enough. My hero this week is Graydon Hicks, Fort Davis superintendent of schools. A West Texas publication published his open letter to Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick raking them over the coals for “the lack of positive […]

Budget passes

The Legislature’s one mandated duty has been completed. Both chambers of the Texas Legislature voted Saturday evening to approve a $217 billion, two-year budget that would boost funding for the state’s beleaguered child welfare agency, increase the number of state troopers on the Texas-Mexico border and avoid serious reforms to the state’s much-criticized school finance […]

MALDEF gets injunction in recapture lawsuit

From their website: Please attribute the following statement on a Texas court ruling ordering state education officials to cease bypassing existing school funding rules to Marisa Bono, Southwest regional counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund): “MALDEF is pleased that the District Court saw through efforts by the Texas Education Agency to […]

Budget deal reached

The one bill that must get passed is on its way. After months of private squabbling and public threats of a legislative overtime session, the Texas House and Senate finally compromised to unveil a joint budget late Saturday. Lawmakers, scrounging for cash in a tight-fisted legislative session, agreed to dip into the state’s savings account […]

Bill King wants you to lower his property taxes

That’s not what he says in this op-ed, but it is the effect of what he’s arguing for, even if he’s not honest enough to come out and say it. Let’s start with the basic point that despite King’s disingenuous attempt to rebrand it, what the city has is indeed a revenue cap and not […]

Patrick takes some hostages

This is what passes for leadership in our state. With deadlines looming, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday threatened to push for a special session of the Legislature to pass a bill to regulate bathroom use for transgender Texans and legislation to set new thresholds for when cities and counties must get voter approval for […]

More on the HISD recapture re-referendum

Here’s the full Chron story about Saturday’s re-vote on recapture. About 84 percent of constituents voted “for” HISD’s Proposition 1, giving the school district the green light to send $77.5 million to the Texas Education Agency rather than let the state forcibly remove some of most valuable commercial properties from the district’s tax rolls. The […]

One last look at the recapture re-vote

There’s a lot at stake here, and not a whole lot of people voting on it. For the second time in seven months, voters within the Houston Independent School District will determine how – and if – it should pay tens of millions to help subsidize districts that collect little in property taxes. The vote […]

House approves bill to kill margins tax

Dumb. The Texas House on Thursday approved a proposal that would phase out an unpopular business tax that provides funding for public schools. The proposal by state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, would not reduce the state’s franchise tax during the current penny-pinching legislative session, but it would do so in future years. Under Bonnen’s bill, […]

Business groups endorse a Yes on recapture re-vote

It’s a very different campaign this time around. The Greater Houston Partnership and other local organizations whose members own some of the city’s priciest commercial real estate have come out in support of a ballot measure over whether the Houston Independent School District should pay its share of property taxes to the state as part […]

House passes school finance reform bill

Well done. State Rep. Dan Huberty succeeded at a difficult task Wednesday: getting the Texas House of Representatives to vote for legislation overhauling the funding system for public education, without a court mandate. After a four-hour discussion of more than 30 proposed amendments, the House voted 134-16 to tentatively accept its top education leader’s plan […]

Re-interview with David Thompson

Last year, I published an interview with attorney David Thompson, who has worked with HISD for a long time on legislative and financial matters, including on the endless litigation over school finance, to discuss the November referendum on recapture. He clarified a lot of items, such as the wording of the referendum, the things that […]

What HISD is saying about recapture

Here’s their official webpage. I think you’ll be able to discern their position. HISD voters will be asked on May 6 how the district should pay its Recapture obligation to the state of Texas: by Purchasing Attendance Credits or through Detachment of Commercial Property. Here’s the language that will appear on the ballot: “Authorizing the […]

MALDEF files suit over change to recapture

This is a twist. Texas education officials illegally changed how property taxes are calculated in wealthy school districts, with the effect of substantially reducing the funds available for schools in poorer districts, a lawsuit filed Thursday charged. The change would cost the state’s poorer schools districts and their students approximately $440 million per year or […]

Reintroducing recapture

The tune has changed, and it’s time we make sure everyone knows it. It felt like déjà vu to many of the 150 people who packed into Tinsley Elementary School’s auditorium Wednesday evening. Facing another controversial Houston ISD school finance referendum, speakers debated two unfavorable options, both of which will cost the school district millions […]

Senate passes its budget

It’s the one bill that has to pass. The Texas Senate unanimously approved a two-year budget on Tuesday that would shift nearly $2 billion in public education costs from the state to local taxpayers. The Senate’s $218 billion document now goes to budget writers in the House for debate. “This is a lean budget, but […]

Senate proposes to make our tax system more broken

That’s what this will surely do. The Texas Senate on Tuesday approved a controversial bill that seeks to curb the growth in property taxes that local government agencies like cities and counties levy on landowners. Senate Bill 2, which passed in an 18-12 vote, could require taxing entities to hold an election if the amount […]

The updated bill for recapture and detachment

Here are the numbers as we now face them. Houston ISD voters will face a choice of either paying the state’s $77.5 million recapture fee, or risk losing $98.4 million in tax revenue over the next fiscal year, according to new dollar figures given to trustees. Those were the options presented to HISD trustees Thursday […]