The new school finance law passed by the state legislature earlier this year was advertised as having a property tax cut for homeowners. The budget that HISD trustees will debate this evening would require a four cent increase. Harris County Tax Assessor Collector Paul Bettencourt says the new school finance law gives districts an incentive to pass the four cent increase. HISD will get an additional $12 million from the state.
"And it's part of what I think was wrong with this plan because it basically puts a lot of pressure on local school boards to do things they would not normally do otherwise."
If the board approves the increase, it would be the first tax increase since 1999 for HISD. Bettencourt says the new law puts the pressure on the local districts.
"Basically what it will mean is that if the school board adopts the enrichment tax, then the average home will pay more this year, not less, in the property taxes, which was not advertised from Austin by the legislature."
If HISD approves the budget, and later this year approves the four cent increase that will be required, it'll mean an additional $43.5 million including the extra money from the state. HISD officials have said the extra money will be used for teacher pay raises, classroom computers and infrastructure improvements. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.