Warning: mysql_get_server_info() [function.mysql-get-server-info]: Access denied for user 'root'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /home/fellwock/public_html/wp-content/plugins/xml-google-maps/xmlgooglemaps_dbfunctions.php on line 10
Warning: mysql_get_server_info() [function.mysql-get-server-info]: A link to the server could not be established in /home/fellwock/public_html/wp-content/plugins/xml-google-maps/xmlgooglemaps_dbfunctions.php on line 10
Add water districts to the list of small government entities in Texas that will likely protest bills filed by state lawmakers that would either cut the rate in half on rollback elections and appraisal caps.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told reports he intended to “get a handle” on property taxes, leaving the weapon of choice open to the will of the Senate. It would be hard to imagine Patrick’s long-time ally and replacement in Senate District 7, Paul Bettencourt, not taking up the challenge. Bettencourt, the former Harris County tax Assessor-Collector, now runs his own tax appeals firm in Houston.
Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) in Houston dominate the membership of AWBD, but MUDs are not the only form of water districts in the state. The group also includes utility districts (UDs), public utility districts (PUDs), water control and improvement districts (WCIDs) and fresh water service districts (FWSDs).
Water districts are especially vulnerable to artificial market controls because their major purpose is to build infrastructure where the city or county will not, and that occurs with bonds. When artificial controls are placed on housing markets, it’s difficult to control tax rates, lobbyist Trey Lary told a meeting this month of the Association of Water Board Directors at the Hilton Austin.
“It could wreak havoc, particularly on the young districts that require a stable tax rate,” said Lary, who primarily represents special districts. “If you’re in the midst of an active program of debt issuance, those limits would make it very hard to manage your tax rates and keep them level for your taxpayers and your bond holders.”
Those who followed the appraisal cap issue when it was at its height a decade ago after heated interim discussion will remember it was former Richardson Mayor Rep. Fred Hill who killed an appraisal cap measure backed by then-Gov. Rick Perry when it hit the floor of the House. “The time to kill a snake is when you’ve got the hoe in your hand,” said Hill, a 20-year member who brought the House to a standstill with his passionate speech.
That was 2005. When Hill retired after the 2007 sessions, he went on to lobby in 2009 for local government, including a handful of small cities, Dallas Area Rapid Transit and other taxing entities. At the time, some pundits called it a natural fit; others questioned the revolving door between lawmakers and lobbyists.
Article courtesy of Kimberly Reeves with Houston Business Journal