Harris County, Texas – In a pair of simultaneous board of trustees meetings on Tuesday, October 12, both Klein Independent School District and Spring Independent School District voted on and approved lowered local tax rates for their coming fiscal years.
For Klein ISD, the new total tax rate is $1.3001 per $100 valuation, down from $1.3373 the previous fiscal year. This represents Klein ISD’s lowest rate in 11 years. For Spring ISD, the new rate is $1.3128, down from $1.3843.
The board meetings had a number of parallels between them as the members discussed and voted on their respective proposed tax rates. Both boards voted unanimously to adopt the lowered rates, and both spent time discussing confusion surrounding how the tax changes must presented.
The total tax rates that were voted on are complicated by the no-new-revenue rule, and by being the sum of the maintenance and operations tax and the interest and sinking tax. While the new total tax rates for the school districts represent a decrease from last year, the resolutions that the boards passed both contain language that describes them as increases.
The no-new-revenue rate is intended to compare the property values and tax rates of the previous year to determine a new tax rate that would yield the same amount of tax dollars. According to law, if a tax change surpasses the current no-new-revenue rate it must be described as a tax increase. Both boards brought in their district Chief Financial Officers to explain, though confusion remained for multiple attendees.
The Spring ISD board had a continued discussion on the matter where members expressed frustration with the rule. Several members voiced their opinion that the rule was a matter of politics and stated in clear terms that the required language makes it sound like they are raising taxes on residents when in fact they are choosing to lower taxes.