Image: Conroe Independent School District first began its bond advocacy campaign with the lie that passage of the $807 million bond and tax hike would only result in a 3-cent tax rate increase. Then citizens began to call the school district out, because the school district is also pushing hefty property tax appraisal increases each year to support the additional debt which will bring its total debt to $2 billion. Now, Conroe ISD has admitted its pushing property tax appraisal increases but has added a new lie that the appraisal rate increases will only be 1.7% per year, when its own website shows much heftier property tax appraisal growth in order to support the bond debt.
Conroe, April 23 – At the core of the Conroe Independent School District’s (CISD) $807 million bond package is a gigantic property tax increase which will result in 61.7% growth in property taxes over the next ten (10) years. CISD has carefully lied to voters about how large the coming tax increase will be.
First round of lies: “only a 3 cent tax rate increase”
First, in all of Superintendent Curtis Null’s pro-bond-advocacy speeches, Null and CISD have claimed that there will only be a 3 cent tax rate increase but neither Null nor CISD have discussed the other major component in the property tax calculation, property tax appraisals. Let’s take the average home property tax appraisal in CISD, $268,518, according to Montgomery County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae.
The full equation follows:
(Tax Rate) x (Property Tax Appraisal) = School Taxes Payable.
To understand the tax increase citizens should expect from CISD $807 million bond, here is a calculation of the current tax on the average home within the school district, using the number which Montgomery County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae has provided:
(Tax Rate = $1.28 per $100 valuation) x (Average Home Tax Value in CISD = $268,518) = $3,437.03 school taxes payable.
If Null’s and CISD’s lies were true about the 3 cent tax rate increase as the only tax increase connected to the $807 million bond, the increase in taxes would only be
(Tax Rate = $1.31 per $100 valuation) x (Average Home Tax Value in CISD = $268,518) = $3,517.59 school taxes payable.
Since $3,517.59 minus $3,437.03 equals $80.56, that tax increase sounds quite low, doesn’t it?
While the tax rate will grow 3 cents per $100 valuation, CISD will push the Montgomery Central Appraisal District (MCAD) to increase property tax valuations by much larger amounts at a far faster rate of growth. CISD largely controls MCAD’s Board of Directors, by having the largest voting bloc in MCAD Board elections. The MCAD Board sets property tax re-appraisal policy. By aggressive reappraisals, CISD and other taxing entities in Montgomery County can hide behind huge property tax appraisal increases while they claim to keep their tax rates steady.
Second round of lies: appraisals won’t go up as much as we say they will
In a recent round of political campaign literature, first under the endorsement for the $807 million bond from CISD Board President Datren Williams, CISD has admitted its complicity in pushing property tax appraisals through MCAD but the school district claims the appraisal growth as a result of the bond will only be 1.7% per year. Here’s the latest pro-bond-advocacy advertisement from CISD:
Right there in plain white letters is the false statement: “Conroe ISD is basing their assumptions on a 1.7% appraised value growth.”
CISD’s political propaganda directly contradicts its own data on its pro-bond-advocacy website. Here’s what CISD has published on its bond advocacy website:
Right there in the column entitled “Assessed Valuation Growth Rate (%)” to the immediate left of the yellow column on the chart, CISD’s Finance Office disclosed that, from the May 2019 Bond Program, CISD taxpayers should expect the following appraised value growth rates each year:
- 2019, 5.73%
- 2020, 5.50%
- 2021, 5.50%
- 2022, 5.00%
- 2023, 5.00%
- 2024, 4.50%
- 2025, 4.50%
- 2026, 4.00%
- 2027, 4.00%
- 2028, 3.00%
- 2029, 2.00%
- 2030, 1.00%.
Clearly, CISD’s “May 2019 Bond Program” includes enormous property tax valuation growth every year. Now, to be fair, the manner in which MCAD actually implements re-appraisals is through a “pod” program wherein some areas of the county don’t see an increase in one year while others see much larger increases. For example, it’s unlikely that your property will see a 5.73% valuation increase in 2019 and then a 5.50% increase in 2020. Rather, those numbers are average increases. Instead, you’ll see much larger increases in one year. For example, many homes in Oak Ridge North have suffered 30% property tax valuation increases in the MCAD notices of assessment they just received in the past several weeks.
It’s sad, however, that either way, CISD is lying to voters in its political propaganda to foist the $807 million bond on the children and adults of CISD.
When CISD directly stated in its recent literature that there will be a 1.7% appraisal growth, in actuality, CISD has said all along that the increases will be those shown in the charge from CISD’s Finance Office.
Here’s the real tax increases, the average homeowner in CISD should expect, if the $807 million bond passes on May 4: