The Legislature has produced more good news for homeowners than the media has reported. Almost unnoticed in the flurry over the school finance package,except by Tom Pauken over on Dallasblog.com, is a provision ending the Stealth Tax–property appraisal increases that have in recent history taken the place of tax hikes–for school districts. Starting in 2007, rollback elections will automatically be required when appraisal creep effectively produces a tax increase of more than 4 cents per $100. For an example, go to the jump.
An example of how this will work: In 2005, Texas ISD levies a tax rate at the $1.50 cap. It is reduced in 2006 by the legislation to $1.33. The school board then votes to add back its allowable 4 cent increase, making the rate $1.37. In 2007, the legislation lowers the rate to $1.04. The school board cannot raise any more money without a public vote–even if higher appraisals bring in more money. If that happens–and you can bet in Highland Park or Plano or Richardson or even in Dallas, it will happen–the school board must either lower the overall tax rate or call an election to allow it to keep the money.
Now we need to get the same legislation for the city and county.