HBA-LCA H.B. 2075 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2075 By: Hochberg Public Education 4/20/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Under current law, school districts must publish notices informing the public of proposed property tax rates and school district budgets. However, some taxpayers and school districts argue that the notices are difficult to understand, do not give taxpayers enough advance notice of a budget hearing, and do not provide enough information on the school district's finances. H.B. 2075 requires a school district to publish one 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. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the comptroller of public accounts in SECTION 1 (Section 44.004, Education Code) of this bill. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Sections 44.004(b) and (c), Education Code, as follows: Sec. 44.004. New Title: NOTICE, HEARING, AND VOTE ON BUDGET MEETING; BUDGET ADOPTION AND TAX RATE. (b) Requires the president of a school board to provide for the publication of notice of the budget and proposed tax rate meeting. Requires that the published notice meet certain size and format requirements, and contain certain information, as follows: (1) Requires that the notice contain certain specified information regarding the date and time of the meeting, and its location. Requires that the notice contain certain specified language regarding the purpose of the meeting. (2) Requires that the notice contain a section entitled "Comparison of Proposed Rates with Current Year's Adopted Rates." Requires that this section calculate the tax rates for the unit's preceding year, the tax rate required to maintain the same level of maintenance and operations revenue and pay debt service, and the proposed tax rate, for columns entitled "Maintenance and Operations," "Interest and Sinking," and "Total." Requires that this section include a fourth column that calculates the Total Revenue Per Student for each row according to a specific formula. Requires that each calculation for Interest and Sinking refer to an explanation of the financing of bonded indebtedness and the dates of elections on which voters approved those bonds. (3) Requires that the notice contain a section entitled "Comparison of Proposed Levy with Last Year's Levy on Average Residence" that contains certain information, for the previous year and for the current year, on the appraised and taxable values of residences, on the previous year's rate versus the proposed rate, and on taxes due on the average residence. (4) Requires that the notice contain specific information regarding an increase or decrease in taxes. (5) Requires that the notice contain a statement explaining that school property taxes cannot increase above the amount paid in the first year after a person's turning 65 years of age regardless of a change in the tax rate. (8) Requires that the statement contain a statement explaining the calculation of the rollback rate, and providing that the district will hold an election to receive voter approval for a rate in excess of the rollback rate. (9) Requires that the notice contain a section entitled "Fund Balances," which includes the amount of the Fund Balance to be spent in the current budget, the amount the Texas Education Agency recommends to be maintained, the designated unreserved fund balance for future construction, and the excess fund balance. (c) Requires the comptroller, by rule, to prescribe the language and format for the part of the notice required by Subsection (b), and provides that a notice not conforming to those standards substantially is invalid. SECTION 2. Amends Sections 26.06(b), (d), and (f), Tax Code, as follows: (b) Requires that all units, except school districts as provided under Section 44.004, Education Code (Budget Meeting, Budget Analysis), post a notice regarding the public hearing. (d) Makes a conforming change. (f) Makes a conforming change. SECTION 3. Effective date: August 31, 1999. SECTION 4. Emergency clause. Effective date: upon passage.