People, Places & Events

     
   

Seeking Father’s Day stories
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–If you have a something to say about the specialness of being a dad, or know a special dad, send your stories and photos to The Monitor by Monday, June 12.
Tell us what makes your dad special. Or if you are a dad, tell us what you like best about being a dad.
All submissions should include your name, phone number and city. They should also be no longer than 300 words.
You may include a photograph of fathers and children together. Be sure to identify the people in the photos, when and where it was taken.
We will include as many of these as we can in a special “Salute to Fathers” in the Sunday, June 18, edition of The Monitor.
Submissions may be mailed to The Monitor at P.O. Box 48, Mabank, TX 75147, or carried into the paper at 1316 Third St. behind Groom & Sons.
Submissions may also be e-mailed to The Monitor at publisher@themonitor.net.
We prefer images be included as a jpeg with 200 dpi resolution.

 

Tax relief bill contains strong rate, appraisal caps
By Rep. Betty Brown
Special to The Monitor

AUSTIN–For years, Texas taxpayers, especially conservative taxpayers, demanded relief from skyrocketing property tax rate and appraisal increases.
Traditionally, taxpayers have little input into the establishment of local school property tax rates and even less in appraisal increases.
House Bill 1 – the property tax relief bill passed in the most recent special session – creates strong tax rate and appraisal caps for the first time.
Local school districts will be more accountable to local taxpayers because more tax rate and appraisal increases will be subject to elections.
HB 1 mandates the largest tax cut in Texas history. It cuts property taxes more than $15.7 billion over the next three years. Combined, House Bills one through five generate a net tax cut of $6.9 billion over three years.
Tax and appraisal reforms contained in HB 1 will ensure that once cut, property taxes stay low. Here are the major tax and appraisal reforms:
Maximum tax rate cut 28 percent and capped
HB 1 cuts school property taxes from $1.50 per $100 of value to $1.00 by 2007. The maximum allowed tax rate is also lowered to $1.17 from $1.50. The lower cap ensures that taxes will stay cut and gives local school districts some additional capacity as required by the Texas Supreme Court. HB 1 ensures that local school property taxes will always be at least 22 percent lower than today.
Voters must approve any rate increase of more than four cents.
Unlike current law, which allows school boards to raise taxes by six cents every year without elections, HB1 keeps property tax rates down by allowing districts to raise taxes by four cents above their compressed rates only one time without an election. After the first four cents, any future tax rate increase will require voter approval.
HB 1 contains an unprecedented appraisal cap.
For most school districts today, the $1.50 statutory cap puts a limit on Maintenance and Operations tax rate increases, but appraisal creep resulted in more money for districts already taxing at the maximum rate.
HB 1 includes the strongest protection against appraisal creep in modern Texas history.
Starting in 2007, rollback elections will automatically be required whenever appraisal creep effectively produces a tax increase of more than four cents per $100. This appraisal cap is cumulative. Tax rate and appraisal increases combined cannot exceed four cents without voter approval. And any effective tax rate increase in excess of the initial four cents will always require a vote.
As taxes shrink, taxpayer protections grow.
HB 2 directed the funds generated by the reformed franchise tax, and cigarette and motor vehicle tax changes be dedicated to future property tax relief. HB 1 says that if the new revenues dedicated to property tax relief push school district property taxes down further, rollback requirements will get even stronger.
For example, if property tax rates are further reduced from $1.00 to $0.75, the limit on effective tax increases due to appraisal creep moves down from four cents to three cents. So, taxpayer protections grow stronger as tax rates go lower.