Many of you have commented about our newsletter updates during session. Now that the 86th Legislature is complete, the real work in the district begins as the budget and policies begin to be implemented. I will regularly be sending out quick updates and facts about the legislation being implemented that impacts us all.
Great news and badly needed....Headlines across Texas, including our Senate District, read that taxpayers will see property tax relief and that teachers are to receive a well-deserved pay raise after the 86th Legislature passed HB 3. This truly reformative bill will do a number of things for taxpayers, schools, and most importantly, students.
The three main points of HB 3 are:
1. HB 3 will provide $11.6 billion for public schools and increases the minimum salary schedule between $5,500 and $9,000. In addition, districts are required to designate 30% of their increased funding towards compensation for full time employees, other than administrators. HB 3 prioritizes compensation for teachers with five or more years of experience and on average, teachers may be able to experience increases ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 or more.
2. New state money, $5 billion worth, was linked to your school districts so that your taxes will go down an average of 8 cents per $100 valuation in 2020 and 13 cents (an additional 5 cents) per $100 valuation in 2021. Yes, your tax rates are going down! Many school districts’ maintenance and operations tax will be going below $1.00.
3. HB 3 also includes several proposals to control the taxes you pay and to keep them from getting out of control again. Bottom line: your local school tax revenue cannot grow more than 2.5 percent per year, much lower than the average of 7-plus percent today.
Thank you for your patience during the process of this bill finally getting passed. In 2017, during the 85th Legislature, there simply was not any surplus of state funds. Between the 85th Legislature and the 86th Legislature, a 13 member school finance commission met many times and made recommendations. The bi-partisan commission made 35 recommendations of which the majority were implemented in HB 3.
To see how your school district faired, click here. The link will show you comparisons from the Legislative Budget Board of new money flowing to school districts as well as how much less in tax rates you can expect to pay.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you in the Texas Senate.
Senator Lois W. Kolkhorst