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


Under current law, school districts must publish notices informing the
public of proposed property tax rates and school district budgets.
However, some taxpayers and school districts argue that the notices are
difficult to understand, do not give taxpayers enough advance notice of a
budget hearing, and do not provide enough information on the school
district's finances. 

H.B. 2075 requires a school district to publish one 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. 


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


SECTION 1.  Amends Sections 44.004(b) and (c), Education Code, as follows:

BUDGET ADOPTION AND TAX RATE.  (b)  Requires the president of a school
board to provide for the publication of notice of the budget and proposed
tax rate meeting.  Requires that the published notice meet certain size and
format requirements, and contain certain information, as follows: 

(1)  Requires that the notice contain certain specified information
regarding the date and time of the meeting, and its location.  Requires
that the notice contain certain specified language regarding the purpose of
the meeting. 

(2)  Requires that the notice contain a section entitled "Comparison of
Proposed Rates with Current Year's Adopted Rates."  Requires that this
section calculate the tax rates for the unit's preceding year, the tax rate
required to maintain the same level of maintenance and operations revenue
and pay debt service, and the proposed tax rate, for columns entitled
"Maintenance and Operations,"  "Interest and Sinking," and "Total."
Requires that this section include a fourth column that calculates the
Total Revenue Per Student for each row according to a specific formula.
Requires that each calculation for Interest and Sinking refer to an
explanation of the financing of bonded indebtedness and the dates of
elections on which voters approved those bonds. 

(3)  Requires that the notice contain a section entitled "Comparison of
Proposed Levy with Last Year's Levy on Average Residence" that contains
certain information, for the previous year and for the current year, on the
appraised and taxable values of residences, on the previous year's rate
versus the proposed rate, and on taxes due on the average residence. 

(4)  Requires that the notice contain specific information regarding an
increase or decrease  in taxes. 

(5)  Requires that the notice contain a statement explaining that school
property taxes cannot increase above the amount paid in the first year
after a person's turning 65 years of age regardless of a change in the tax

(8)  Requires that the statement contain a statement explaining the
calculation of the rollback rate, and providing that the district will hold
an election to receive voter approval for a rate in excess of the rollback

(9)  Requires that the notice contain a section entitled "Fund Balances,"
which includes the amount of the Fund Balance to be spent in the current
budget, the amount the Texas Education Agency recommends to be maintained,
the designated unreserved fund balance for future construction, and the
excess fund balance. 

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

SECTION 2.  Amends Sections 26.06(b), (d), and (f), Tax Code, as follows:

(b)  Requires that all units, except school districts as provided under
Section 44.004, Education Code (Budget Meeting, Budget Analysis), post a
notice regarding the public hearing.   

(d)  Makes a conforming change.  

(f)  Makes a conforming change.

SECTION 3.  Effective date: August 31, 1999.

SECTION 4.  Emergency clause.
  Effective date: upon passage.