Public Debt

What is the Fort Worth ISD School Board Hiding?

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Direct Action Texas (DAT) called out the Fort Worth ISD School Board for ditching their ethics policy just before voting on a $750 million bond package. We opined that certain Board Trustees made the decision because they may be unable to adhere to the new policy and cash in on the massive bond. So, they buried its repeal in a long, vaguely worded consent agenda.

Other Trustees were outraged when they discovered the subterfuge, feeling tricked into voting out the merely three-month-old policy. Even the liberal Fort Worth Star Telegram weighed in against the removal of the policy with a serious of articles including this scathing rebuke from the Editorial Board. As outlined in another FWST piece, the Board is still in turmoil over what “ethics” means in Fort Worth.

Ethics and transparency aren’t just an issue for the Fort Worth ISD Board. The trouble extends to district staff, struggling with even the most basic of open records requests. DAT filed a request with Fort Worth ISD for Campaign Finance Reports (CFRs) filed by Political Action Committees (PACs). Now, almost 3 months later, the PACs’ reports have still not been produced.

DAT has followed the rules. We sent our request in writing. We received confirmation. We waited the full 10 business days, as required by law. We took the only next step and sent a violation letter to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). The OAG then sent Fort Worth ISD a demand letter telling them to produce the information. Yet still we wait. Why? What are they hiding? Is the Fort Worth ISD trying to hide information or are they simply inept?

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If Only Fort Worth had a Doctor

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If Fort Worth only had a Doctor.

The City of Fort Worth is sick and has been for quite some time.  Unfortunately, we haven’t had anyone on the City Council that could address its illness.  It’s an illness that’s gone on for years, with the perpetual promise to fix it in the future, and yet here we are.  If only Fort Worth had a Doctor that knew how to treat and cure this disease.

Like most illnesses, you can take two paths when providing treatment.  The first is to just address the symptoms, usually making the outward appearance seem better.  Doing this only ends up masking the problem, ignoring the actual underlying issue.  Every illness must be addressed at some point, wouldn’t it be far better to cure the illness rather than mask it?

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Fort Worth ISD Board Ditches Ethics for Cash

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The Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) Board had an ethics policy with teeth, but it didn’t last long.  It appears board officials just couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to potentially cash in on the massive $750 Million school bond.

The school board adopted a strong ethics policy in April of this year, but abruptly ditched it a few months later in August. Conveniently for elected officials, this alarming change was made only six days before the board voted to put a $750 million bond package on the November ballot.

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De Facto State Property Tax

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In 2016, property values in Collin County increased by an average of 8.9%. No doubt, with the move of ToYoram.Solomonyota and other large companies to the County, it’s a great place to live in, and in great demand, which drives property values up. However, there is a downside to the increase in values: even while keeping similar tax rates, actual property taxes increased by almost 10%.

An increase in property values does not automatically translate into an increase in local expenditures.  Read More

Local Elected Official Meet to Discuss Property Taxes and Budgeting

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Last Friday, June 10th, Direct Action Texas, along with Empower Texans, sponsored their second Lean Local event at the Plano Marriott at Legacy. The attendees represented over 30 municipalities and 6 counties.

Carrollton’s Mayor Pro Tem  Anthony Wilder kicked off the half day event with Budgeting Best Practices. Wilders background as an actuarial analyst brings particular insight into how to analyze and breakdown the real numbers, the liabilities to the city and think of alternative ways to approach some of them. Collin County Judge Keith Self described why and how the appraisal value is not to blame for your increased property taxes, rather the tax rates set by your local governments. The effective tax rate was a hot topic of the day. Here is a simple overview of the effective tax rate issue:

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