Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2075
By: Hochberg
Public Education


State law requires school districts to publish notices informing the public
of proposed property tax rates and school district budgets.  However, prior
to the 76th Legislature, some taxpayers and school districts argued that
the notices were difficult to understand, did not give taxpayers enough
advance notice of a budget hearing, and did not provide enough information
on the school district's finances. 

H.B. 2075 requires a school district to publish a notice before the budget
hearing, and specifies the size and format requirements for the notice.
The bill requires the notice to include specific sections that provide a
comparison between proposed and current tax rates, the rate necessary to
maintain the current level of revenue and debt service, and specific
information on fund balances.  This bill also entitles a person who owns
taxable property in a school district to an injunction restraining the
collection of taxes by the district if it knowingly failed to comply with
notice requirements set forth in this bill.  


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the commissioner of education in
SECTION 1 (Section 44.004, Education Code) of this bill. 


SECTION 1.  Amends Section 44.004, Education Code, as follows:

ADOPTION. (a) Requires the president of a school board (board president) to
call a meeting of the board of trustees for the purpose of adopting a
budget for the succeeding fiscal year, when the budget has been prepared
under Section 44.002 (Preparation of Budget), Education Code. 

(b)  Requires the board president to provide for the publication of notice
of the budget and proposed tax rate meeting.  Deletes existing text
authorizing a school district to include the notice required under this
subsection in a notice required under Section 26.06, Tax Code. 

(c) Prohibits the notice of public meeting to discuss and adopt the budget
and the proposed tax rate from being smaller than one-quarter page of a
standard-size or a tabloidsize newspaper, and requires the headline on the
notice to be in 18-point or larger type. Sets forth the required content
and format of the notice. 

(c-1) Sets forth additional required content of the notice.

(c-2) Requires certain budget calculations to be made without consideration
of state revenue received by the district for the pay raise for specified
district employees.  Sets forth additional required content and format of

(c-3) Requires the commissioner of education (commissioner) to adopt
emergency rules regarding the notice. 
(c-4) Requires the commissioner to adopt emergency rules regarding certain
budget calculations and content of the notice. 

(c-5) Provides that this subsection and Subsections (c)(1)-(4) expire May
1, 2000. 

(d)  Requires the comptroller of public accounts to prescribe the language
and format for the part of the notice required by Subsection (c), and
provides that a notice not substantially conforming to those standards is

(e) Entitles a person who owns taxable property in a school district to an
injunction restraining the collection of taxes by the district if the
district has not complied with the requirements of Subsections (b), (c),
and (d), and the failure to comply was not in good faith.  Provides that an
action to enjoin the collection of taxes must be filed before the date the
school district delivers substantially all of its tax bills. 

(f) Redesignated from Subsection (c). Makes a conforming change.

(g) Redesignated from Subsection (d).

SECTION 2.  Amends Section 26.04, Tax Code, by amending Subsection (e) and
adding Subsection (e-1), as follows: 

(e) Deletes language that requires the subtraction of the amount of
estimated funds necessary for the operation of a school district prior to
the receipt of the first state education aid payment in the succeeding
school year from the amount of estimated fund balances that state law
requires the designated officer or employee of the governing body of a
taxing unit to inform each property owner in the taxing unit of by mail or
(e-1) Provides that the notice requirements imposed by Subsections
(e)(1)-(6) do not apply to a school district. 

SECTION 3.  Amends Section 26.05(d), Tax Code, to prohibit the governing
body of a taxing unit other than a school district from adopting a tax rate
that if applied to the total taxable value would impose an amount of taxes
that exceeds last year's levy until it has held a public hearing on the
proposed tax rate and has otherwise complied with Section 26.06. 

SECTION 4.  Amends Section 26.06, Tax Code, by adding Subsection (g), as

(g) Provides that this section does not apply to a school district.
Requires a school district to provide notice of a public hearing on a tax
increase as required by Section 44.004, Education Code. 

SECTION 5.  Emergency clause.