Conroe ISD’s latest falsehood is that older voters shouldn’t care enough to vote NO in the $807 million bond/tax hike referendum

Conroe ISD’s latest falsehood is that older voters shouldn’t care enough to vote NO in the $807 million bond/tax hike referendum

Image: Taxes take freedom.

Conroe, April 24 – Conroe Independent School District (CISD) has fashioned a new argument to discourage voters likely to vote “NO” in the $807 million bond and tax hike referendum. According to Kelli Cook, Director of Strategy and Operations for the Children’s Hope PAC, which opposes the bond, “We’ve begun to hear some older voters who’ve been told by pro-bond advocates that the bond can’t hurt them, because their school taxes are frozen once they turn 65. That’s NOT TRUE!”

The CISD’s latest argument is largely false and constitutes nothing more than an attempt to fool voters to vote against their own interests or to try to convince voters likely to vote against the bond not to vote at all.

In actuality, there are at least three reasons even older voters should vote “NO” in the $807 million bond referendum for which Early Voting has begun and extends through April 30 and for which Election Day is May 4, 2019.

If CISD’s $807 million bond passes, it WILL raise your taxes

The passage of CISD’s $807 million bond and tax hike WILL raise your taxes whether you are over 65 or not. That’s primarily because CISD has made clear they’ll need aggressive increases in property tax appraisals during the next ten (10) years in order to support the more than $2 billion of debt the school district will have, if the bond passes.

Even though citizens who are over 65 don’t suffer an increase in their school taxes once they turn 65 under Texas law, they’re still subject to increased property tax appraisals for taxing entities which do not cap property tax appraisal increases. In CISD’s geographic area, there are three major jurisdictions which have not chosen to freeze property tax appraisals for people over 65: the Woodlands Township, the City of Oak Ridge North, and the City of Shenandoah. Additionally, many of the Emergency Service Districts and other special purpose districts have not frozen property tax appraisals.

Therefore, if a person is over 65 and lives in The Woodlands, he or she has a serious problem, if CISD’s $807 million bond passes. CISD, as the largest taxing entity in Montgomery County, controls the largest bloc of votes to elect the five-person Montgomery Central Appraisal District (MCAD) Board of Directors, which sets the re-appraisal policy for property tax appraisals and has aggressively pushed re-appraisals at an alarming increase during the past two decades in the entire community.

CISD has made clear that, in addition to a 3-cent tax rate increase, the school district will need property tax appraisal increases during the next 10 years to service its more than $2 billion of debt. Here is the table showing those property tax appraisal increases:

Source: Conroe Independent School District.

The critical column is the one just to the left of the yellow column entitled “Assessed Valuation Growth Rate (%).” That column shows property tax appraisal valuations of 5.73% in 2019, 5.50% in 2020, 2021, and 2021, 5.00% in 2022 and 2023, 4.50% in 2024 and 2025, 4.00% in 2026 and 2027, 3.00% in 2028, 2.00% in 2029, and 1.00% in 2030.

So let’s take an example of what might occur to a 66-year-0ld couple living in The Woodlands Township. Now, to be fair, remember that your school taxes would remain frozen, because state law requires the school district to freeze your taxes. Nevertheless, your property taxes in The Woodlands Township would skyrocket along with your property tax appraisal, even if the Woodlands Township Board of Directors kept the tax rate flat at 22.73 cents per $100 valuation!

By pushing property tax appraisals, which impact all property taxes, CISD would push an over-65 couple’s property taxes payable to The Woodlands Township as follows, with a $300,000 home value in 2018, as an example:

It’s critical to note two points. First, the foregoing chart’s calculation assumes that the tax rate will not increase. Second, all of the data from the chart comes from CISD and from the tax rate table of Montgomery County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae.

Even more critical, however, is that for an over-65 individual or couple living in The Woodlands Township or within the jurisdiction of a taxing entity, which does not freeze property tax appraisals for over-65 taxpayers, CISD’s aggressive push to increase property tax valuations will result in a 53.24% increase in property taxes for over-65 taxpayers!

Even more critical, however, is that for an over-65 individual or couple living in The Woodlands Township or within the jurisdiction of a taxing entity, which does not freeze property tax appraisals for over-65 taxpayers, CISD’s aggressive push to increase property tax valuations will result in a 53.24% increase in property taxes for over-65 taxpayers!

Spending harms others

When most people examine whether to vote for or against a tax increase look far beyond their own circumstances. It’s important to remember what impact CISD’s tax increase will have on the entire community.

CISD’s $807 million bond will increase total taxation by 61.7% for CISD taxpayers within ten (10) years, according to CISD’s financial projections of the increases in the tax rate and the property tax valuations necessary to service CISD’s bond debt. If one assumes that CISD is telling the truth that it intends to propose another bond in 2023, then CISD’s taxpayers will look forward to a 132% tax increase within ten (10) years. Please see “What Conroe ISD has (quietly) said will happen, when the $807 million bond passes in the May 4 voter referendum,” The Golden Hammer, April 14, 2019.

A 5th grade student in CISD will suffer school taxes more than twice the current school taxes when she or he is in her early thirties trying to start a family. Young adults will work as slaves to pay school taxes and other property taxes, as CISD and other taxing jurisdictions swell their debt and their taxes.

Americans living in the colonial era recognized that taxation was a loss of freedom. Americans living in the twenty-first century are rapidly recognizing that fact as well.

CISD’s bond actually harms educational outcomes

CISD’s $807 million bond actually harms the educational outcomes for children in the school district. First, CISD admitted in writing that the $807 million bond will do nothing to improve educational outcomes. The second and seemingly more important point is that this $807 million bond package will actually harm students and their teachers.

CISD already pays more than $50 million per year in debt which school taxes must support. The interest payments detract – or more directly, subtract – directly from funds which could otherwise go to pay for teacher salaries and instructional materials for the children in the school district. With the $807 million bond, CISD will pay more $1.3 BILLION in interest payments alone during the next 25 years. Those interest payments will do nothing whatsoever to improve educational outcomes or to support the teachers and children in our public schools.

The $807 million bond contains only $303 million of “needs” and over HALF A BILLION of “wants,” such as Astro-turf for elite athletic fields, curtains for elementary school stages, spending $1.5 million to upgrade a building CISD intends to shut down, $425,000 on an air soft gun range, $245 million to pay for lawyer, architect, and engineer fees, and $131 million or more on maintenance.

Citizens who are 65 or older are the wisdom on which our community must rely to turn back such silliness are precisely the individuals who should vote in the May 4 CISD bond referendum.

 

Comments

comments

You must be logged in to post a comment Login