HOUSTON – On a summer dog day, Saturday non-uniform election date Klein ISD voters rejected a proposed $0.09 Tax Rate Ratification Election by a 55-45% margin. Klein ISD’s Board of Trustees called for this election to increase the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) property tax rate by $0.09 to $1.14 per $100 of appraised value, for a combined Klein ISD property tax rate of $1.52 per $100 of appraised value. Published news stories quote KISD’s CFO who estimated a house valued at $200,000 would see a $157 property tax increase. Results:
“It is preposterously bad public policy to spend taxpayer money to hold special elections in the dog days of summer that almost always have a low voter turnout,” said Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston). “The right public policy position is to have these elections in November and that is what I have advocated for on property tax relief measures. This result shows both voter fatigue and voter pocketbook concerns.”
Harris County voters went to the polls in the regularly scheduled March party primary elections and again for those runoffs in May. Additionally, they voted in the uniform election in May for School Board, Emergency Service Districts, etc. In another upcoming, non-uniform special election Harris County voters will be asked to approve a $2.5 billion flood control bond just weeks before the regularly scheduled November election. Harris County Commissioners Court has set the date of this election on August 25. “I wish the voters could have more time to consider the County’s bond proposal because taxpayers having enough time and public policy interest in November is what this should be all about!” added Senator Bettencourt.
As part of his property tax reform legislation in the upcoming 86th Legislative Session (Senate Bill 2), as filed will require that all property tax increase elections be held in November, including rollback elections. The same provision was included in legislation from the 85th Legislative Session, authored by Senator Bettencourt, which was passed in the Texas Senate to offer meaningful property tax relief but the Texas House refused to appoint a conference committee and instead adjourned a day early.
“I had calls from constituents in Klein ISD who stated they were not even aware that this 9 cent property tax rate increase election was taking place,” continued Senator Bettencourt. “I did my best to inform the public but having this election in June was definitely a public policy mistake! Rest assured the property tax reforms in SB 2 for the next Legislative Session will require a November vote for any property tax rate increases, as voter support is paramount to good public policy,” concluded Senator Bettencourt.