Fighting for Transparency & Fiscal Responsibility in Local Government

Opinion: I Will Vote No on the Richardson ISD TRE

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Submitted by Murphy McNutt

My husband and I recently moved to Richardson. I enjoyed growing up in the Richardson Heights and Canyon Creek areas. When we finally decided that we outgrew our home in the Bishop Arts area, we decided to start looking for houses in Richardson to be closer to family. We already discussed that we’d like to have our first child in the next few years, so we decided it would be best to make schools a higher priority in our hunt for a new home.

We looked long and hard for a home that fit within our budget and determined that the Reservation neighborhood in Richardson was where we wanted to plant our roots. It felt quite nostalgic being back in a city where I had many fond memories as a little girl. It was perfect.

Like most responsible adults, we live within our means, which means creating an accurate and sustainable budget. Ultimately, we could’ve spent a little less on a house, but we also would’ve been confined to underperforming schools or expensive private schools. After a lot of consideration (and a hard sell to move here by my family that’s lived here for decades,) we spent a little bit more on our house so our future kids could attend Mohawk Elementary and eventually JJ Pearce High School.

We figured out what our long-term budget needed to be to make this work. We turned our previous property into a rental property to generate additional income (which was a scary leap of faith to have TWO mortgages,) and we determined what we needed to save and invest, so that we are prepared for our future family. As it stands, my husband’s salary alone will not cover our family for when I become pregnant, so we needed to account for that by saving.

We knew property taxes would inevitably go up because of the market we are in, and we made sure to account for that, in addition to health insurance and general inflation on nearly everything else. What we didn’t account for was the school district proposing a MAXIMUM property tax increase of 12.5% upon moving into our new home.

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Pension Crisis: Fort Worth Employees vs. Taxpayers

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Fort Worth is in a pension crisis, which in turn has the city looking at raising property taxes significantly this year.  The pension crisis is at the heart of the proposed increase in property taxes.  It would be an increase of over 2.8% this year compared to the prior year.  However if your property had an increase in appraisal you’d see a compounded increase of that amount plus the tax increase.  For instance if your property appraised for 10% more this year, you’d have a net increase of 12.8% (appraisal plus tax increase).  

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Open Letter from Keller ISD Board Member: Vote No

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KELLER ISD’s UPCOMING TRE ELECTION

By: Brad Schofield, KISD Trustee, Place 6

I have been asked why I voted against the 2018 TRE which includes a 1-cent property tax deduction.  First and foremost, I am all for property tax deductions and easing the local homeowner tax burden.  Three years ago I voted for a 2-cent property tax deduction, so what’s up with my No vote on this TRE?

First off, let’s look at some of the MYTHS and FACTS surrounding this issue:

Myth 1 –If the TRE passes Keller ISD will receive an additional $19 Million in new funding for the district.

Real Fact –Keller ISD will receive NO additional funding if the TRE passes.  Furthermore, the district will be sending $5 Million dollars of local property taxpayer money back to the state.  This happens if the TRE passes because it will trigger Keller ISD to fall under the Robin Hood recapture rules and hence Keller ISD will have to pay back to the state $5 Million dollars of your money.  The $19 Million talked about is already collected in the I&S fund and can be used for many purposes including updated school building security, electronic equipment for the classroom, and bus transportation.

Myth 2 –The local taxpayer will receive a 1-cent property tax reduction with the TRE. Read More

Shocking Video – School District Electioneers at Early Voting Parties

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“A joint investigation by Direct Action Texas and Empower Texans reveals Lancaster ISD employees advocated for a tax rate proposition at “back to school” parties inside polls.”

Article by Erin Anderson of Empower Texans

“A North Texas school district used controversial, and possibly illegal, tactics to help ensure passage of a property tax rate proposition that will result in more tax revenue for the district and higher tax bills for taxpayers.

A joint investigation by Direct Action Texas and Empower Texans took a look at “back-to-school” parties for parents held inside campus polling locations in Lancaster Independent School District. The parties were on the same day, at the same time, and at the same schools as the early voting polls.

Lancaster ISD used what’s called “rolling polling” during early voting for its August 25 tax ratification election, moving polling locations to different district campuses each day.

Early voting began on August 8, the day after district teachers and staff returned to campus. Back-to-school parties coordinated with early “mobile voting” sites were held August 13-18.

Tony Ortiz of Empower Texans and Robert Montoya of Direct Action Texas visited three campuses during their rolling polling parties — Rosa Parks Millbrook Elementary, George Washington Carver, and Lancaster Middle School — and recorded what they saw on video.

School employees in the video admit the parties were held to get parents to vote. The parties gave free food to parents. The parties were held at schools, on taxpayer-funded government property. At each polling location visited, multiple school employees said on video to vote for the tax rate proposition.

State law makes it illegal for school districts to use taxpayer resources for electioneering. And government employees at work are prohibited from telling voters how to vote in an election.

The video shows what look like violations of both statutes:

 

And no person in Texas can electioneer to voters inside a polling location. They must be 100 feet away from the entrance to the building where the poll is located.

School employees appear to have violated those limits as well. They electioneered inside the polls and on the taxpayer’s dime.

The district’s questionable tactics paid off. Lancaster ISD voters approved the tax swap 62-38 percent, with a dismal 2.5 percent voter turnout. In-person early voters, including those who cast ballots at the early voting parties, voted for the tax swap proposition by a 269-65 margin. Election Day voters, who cast ballots at a local library, were more closely divided, 124-100.”

Grassroots Conference Call

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Direct Action Texas (DAT) along with Grassroots America: We The People (GAWTP) and many other grassroots leaders and activists, sent a Coalition letter to Governor Abbott. The letter called on him to make election integrity an emergency item and do all in his power to remove non-citizens from the voter rolls. The Coalition called on him to act and compel the Attorney General to release the data on how many non-citizens are registered and voting, and to compel the Secretary of State to use the DPS data to remove ineligible voters from the voter rolls.

For more information, listen to the Coalition Conference call below, hosted by Aaron Harris of DAT and JoAnn Fleming of GAWTP.

 

 

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