Multiple property tax rate increase elections are coming to Harris County within the next few months! Klein ISD will vote this Monday, May 14, on whether to hold an election to raise their property tax rate by 9 pennies on the weekend of the Republican State Convention June 16. In addition, the Governor granted Harris County’s request to hold a $2.5 billion bond election in August, just barely two months before the November General Election.  Not to be left out, Mayor Turner has announced that he wants to personally bust the property tax rate cap by no later than November!

The Harris County Republican Party Executive Committee, in a nearly unanimous vote of over 200 precinct chairs, voted to send a Resolution to Klein ISD Trustees, Harris County Commissioners Court, the Mayor of Houston, and the Harris County legislative delegation that they “strongly” and “in no uncertain terms” are calling upon Harris County, the City of Houston, and Klein ISD governments to schedule their respective bond and/or tax cap repeal elections as part of and on the November General Election date. This is good public policy that I have supported for a long time as all taxpayers deserve to vote on major tax increase proposals in November.

Clint Moore, a six time national delegate and the author of the resolution, stated that “Republicans should act like Republicans.”  The basis for this is directly in the State Republican Party Platform Rule (# 178) that is already in the platform and which delegates like myself and Clint will be voting on the same day that the tax rate increase election for Klein ISD could take place.  That is unacceptable.  In the May 5 election, just a few thousand voters in Goose Creek ISD voted down a $437 million bond proposal.  Can you imagine how low the turnout could be in the dog days of summer? This is an example of the voter fatigue that we will see in these summer special elections, or worse I worry about the impact on taxpayer’s pocketbooks! If all three of these proposals pass one portion of Harris county will eventually pay 17 cents more in tax rate on their property tax bills.

Klein ISD:
Klein ISD’s Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on whether or not to hold a tax ratification election (TRE) in June on the weekend of the Republican Party State Convention.  This is a 9 penny increase on their M&O rate in addition to valuation increases. The vote is on Monday so let them know your opinion with the link below.

Harris County:
Harris County Commissioner’s Court has announced their desire to hold a $2.5 billion Harris County Flood Control District proposition election on August 25th, just weeks before the regularly scheduled election in November.  Per published news accounts, this request was approved by Governor Abbott where the Governor also highlighted the fact that “billions of federal dollars either are currently available to Harris County or will be available to the County before it has the ability to issue the bonds requested in your letter.” Thus, holding the election in November could save county taxpayers over $1 million dollars in election costs just a few weeks before the regularly scheduled election, so why not wait? Commissioners Court will officially set an election date at their upcoming June meeting.

City of Houston:
The Mayor has announced that he wants to bust the voter imposed property tax rate cap and increase property taxes by roughly $90-150 million. Regardless of what you have seen in the media, property tax collections in the City of Houston over the last five fiscal years have increased by $375 million or 39%! That’s enough!!

Rather than spend taxpayer money on special elections – these taxing jurisdictions still have the chance to do the right thing and schedule their property tax rate increase elections in November.  It is a fundamental truth that our Republic functions better when more people are able to cast their ballots in a Democracy.

Contact Klein ISD, Harris County Commissioners Court, and Mayor Turner and tell them to do the right thing and let the people vote in November!

Thank you,

Paul Bettencourt
Texas State Senator