HBA-NMO, NLM, LCA H.B. 2075 76(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2075 By: Hochberg Public Education 10/27/1999 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE State law requires school districts to publish notices informing the public of proposed property tax rates and school district budgets. However, prior to the 76th Legislature, some taxpayers and school districts argued that the notices were difficult to understand, did not give taxpayers enough advance notice of a budget hearing, and did not provide enough information on the school district's finances. H.B. 2075 requires a school district to publish a notice before the budget hearing, and specifies the size and format requirements for the notice. The bill requires the notice to include specific sections that provide a comparison between proposed and current tax rates, the rate necessary to maintain the current level of revenue and debt service, and specific information on fund balances. This bill also entitles a person who owns taxable property in a school district to an injunction restraining the collection of taxes by the district if it knowingly failed to comply with notice requirements set forth in this bill. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the commissioner of education in SECTION 1 (Section 44.004, Education Code) of this bill. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 44.004, Education Code, as follows: Sec. 44.004. New Title: NOTICE OF BUDGET AND TAX RATE MEETING; BUDGET ADOPTION. (a) Requires the president of a school board (board president) to call a meeting of the board of trustees for the purpose of adopting a budget for the succeeding fiscal year, when the budget has been prepared under Section 44.002 (Preparation of Budget), Education Code. (b) Requires the board president to provide for the publication of notice of the budget and proposed tax rate meeting. Deletes existing text authorizing a school district to include the notice required under this subsection in a notice required under Section 26.06, Tax Code. (c) Prohibits the notice of public meeting to discuss and adopt the budget and the proposed tax rate from being smaller than one-quarter page of a standard-size or a tabloidsize newspaper, and requires the headline on the notice to be in 18-point or larger type. Sets forth the required content and format of the notice. (c-1) Sets forth additional required content of the notice. (c-2) Requires certain budget calculations to be made without consideration of state revenue received by the district for the pay raise for specified district employees. Sets forth additional required content and format of notice. (c-3) Requires the commissioner of education (commissioner) to adopt emergency rules regarding the notice. (c-4) Requires the commissioner to adopt emergency rules regarding certain budget calculations and content of the notice. (c-5) Provides that this subsection and Subsections (c)(1)-(4) expire May 1, 2000. (d) Requires the comptroller of public accounts to prescribe the language and format for the part of the notice required by Subsection (c), and provides that a notice not substantially conforming to those standards is invalid. (e) Entitles a person who owns taxable property in a school district to an injunction restraining the collection of taxes by the district if the district has not complied with the requirements of Subsections (b), (c), and (d), and the failure to comply was not in good faith. Provides that an action to enjoin the collection of taxes must be filed before the date the school district delivers substantially all of its tax bills. (f) Redesignated from Subsection (c). Makes a conforming change. (g) Redesignated from Subsection (d). SECTION 2. Amends Section 26.04, Tax Code, by amending Subsection (e) and adding Subsection (e-1), as follows: (e) Deletes language that requires the subtraction of the amount of estimated funds necessary for the operation of a school district prior to the receipt of the first state education aid payment in the succeeding school year from the amount of estimated fund balances that state law requires the designated officer or employee of the governing body of a taxing unit to inform each property owner in the taxing unit of by mail or newspaper. (e-1) Provides that the notice requirements imposed by Subsections (e)(1)-(6) do not apply to a school district. SECTION 3. Amends Section 26.05(d), Tax Code, to prohibit the governing body of a taxing unit other than a school district from adopting a tax rate that if applied to the total taxable value would impose an amount of taxes that exceeds last year's levy until it has held a public hearing on the proposed tax rate and has otherwise complied with Section 26.06. SECTION 4. Amends Section 26.06, Tax Code, by adding Subsection (g), as follows: (g) Provides that this section does not apply to a school district. Requires a school district to provide notice of a public hearing on a tax increase as required by Section 44.004, Education Code. SECTION 5. Emergency clause.