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EISD tax rate boost needed

Nobody likes a tax hike.
We especially don’t want to suffer higher expenses considering the volatile state of our economy. However, technically, what the Ennis Independent School District proposed last week is not your typical tax hike.

In years past, when it was foolish to think property values would decline, no one imagined that our public entities that rely so heavily on taxing our property would suffer like this.

Nobody’s shedding tears for municipal, county or school government bodies since we suffered the same declines in our businesses over the past two years. But the reality is just starting to set in for our taxing entities.

In the case of the EISD, they are required each year to make payments on their debt. Regardless of your opinion regarding the debt, the voters of Ennis agreed to pay and will be held to that decision.

Last year, the rate stood at $0.47 per $100 of taxable value and now the proposal is to raise that to $0.50 of taxable value. However, because of declining property values, most taxpayers in Ennis will still see an overall reduction in property taxes owed to local government entities.

In the case of the city, despite lower values commissioners and the staff worked to cut the budget in an effort to, among other things, not raise taxes in Ennis. The school district did the same in their maintenance and operational budget, where the rate is still $1.04.
However, debt must be paid and the system agreed to raise that rate to the proposed level even though it may force them to dip into reserves to pay the balance.

The total taxable value in the district fell by $20 million, causing the projected shortfall in funding.

The EISD Board of Trustees did the right thing in making necessary cuts to keep operational expenses to a minimum while at the same time holding us responsible for the taxes we said we’d pay to build new schools.

Just as we’d expect tax rates to decline if property values went up, we also expect those rates to rise if values go down. That particular aspect of the budget doesn’t allow for much creativity and the debt remains without consideration for our economic climate.

This is a reasonable request and we support the move to hold us responsible, as taxpayers, for what we’ve agreed to. When the time comes and assessments rise, we’d expect the opposite reaction from our school system.

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Posted by on Aug 17 2010. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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