As Texas' population boom fuels demand for more housing, the property values that drive tax bills are also rising. State lawmakers this legislative session want to slow the increase in property taxes that Texans pay each year — something they've been trying to do for years with little success. That's because property taxes are a huge revenue stream for local governments, whose officials say limiting their tax collection authority could hamstring what they budget for first responders, roads and other essential services. Simply determining how much a Texas property owner owes in taxes is a complicated process involving multiple government entities — mainly cities, counties and school districts — and the final tax bite is largely determined by the appraised value of a property set by a local appraisal district. As legislators prepare to spend the next several months debating how to keep property taxes from rising so fast, here’s a look at the process that … [Read more...] about How do Texas governments calculate your property taxes? Here’s a primer.
Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here. This isn’t going to be a session for the show horses in the Texas Legislature. State leaders laid out their plans for property taxes — they hope to stop the rapid growth of that most-loathed levy — but specific proposals for school finance are still in the hopper, waiting to be detailed so lawmakers and the rest of us can find out whether and how all of this fits together. Gov. Greg Abbott will be on stage Tuesday in front of the House and the Senate to tell them what he hopes to accomplish during this legislative session — to lay out, for everyone to see, the standards by which he and the 86th Texas Legislature are to be judged. Lawmakers don’t have to listen to him. Abbott has called more than once for tighter ethics laws, asking Texas legislators to make it harder for Texas legislators to do the things that raise voters’ eyebrows, whether it’s … [Read more...] about Analysis: Texas government is often entertaining, but it’s not all show business
Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here. This might seem premature to anyone who has watched the roiling spectacle of a Texas legislative session, but maybe the state’s top leaders are actually working together. They’ve been saying so for weeks. Everyone paying attention to Capitol conversations has heard the word “kumbaya” too many times. But in spite of the feel-good public relations push, there were differences in the way the governor, the lieutenant governor and the speaker were talking about public education and property taxes. Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and Dennis Bonnen were singing from the same hymnal, but it wasn’t clear they were singing from the same page. The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one. They were all talking about school finance, but Bonnen seemed to emphasize more money for schools. Patrick seemed to be talking more about teacher pay than the others. Abbott was … [Read more...] about Analysis: At the top of Texas government, three-part harmony
Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here. The Texas House is in the middle of a reboot — a change in leadership and the general mix of things that only takes place about once a decade. House Speaker Joe Straus is leaving. State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, has collected enough promises from members of the House to succeed Straus in January, when the actual vote takes place. You can see people changing positions, rearranging their political stances for a fresh start. The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one. After a narrow election victory, the noisiest conservative in the Texas House, Jonathan Stickland of Bedford, is telling his local journalists it’s time to for him to use more honey and less vinegar. Jeff Leach of Plano, another member of the House’s Freedom Caucus — a group that had been playing loyal opposition to Straus within the GOP — quit the caucus in a public letter saying … [Read more...] about Analysis: It’s still a Republican Texas government, but it’s a new one
Awards luncheon was held to recognize award recipients and nominees from across Texas /EIN News/ -- Pasadena, Texas, Sept. 07, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PASADENA, Texas – Since childhood, Dr. Rachel Garcia has been the problem solver. From fuel pumps to car brakes, she was the child by her father’s side repairing vehicles and spending time at the welding shop. She would later apply her problem-solving skills and hands-on approach of learning to the classroom and collaborate with researchers from across the globe. Now the chemistry professor and department chair of physical science at San Jacinto College can be found carving out projects from a 3D printer she helped obtain through grant opportunities. For her ability in finding solutions that positively impact the current and future students of San Jacinto College, Garcia was selected for a 2018 Outstanding Women in Texas Government Award by The State Agency Council. She was recently honored at a luncheon in Austin, … [Read more...] about Dr. Rachel Garcia named one of four Outstanding Women in Texas Government