Archive for October 18th, 2016

HISD Proposition One

Let’s see, the Chron’s Brian Smith called it the Little 12. I have also heard the Big 12 minus 2 and even the Big Ten Jr.

Houston ISD voters are being asked to vote for or against the following:

Authorizing the board of trustees of Houston Independent School District to purchase attendance credits from the state with local tax revenues.

Huh? It is at the end of the ballot. It is being called Proposition 1. I am kind of figuring a whole lot of folks are not going to know what this is all about.

Some of our leaders want us to vote no on the measure. Here is from a recent press release:

The Vote Against HISD Proposition 1 campaign announced the start of an ad campaign today on local television stations featuring Mayor Sylvester Turner asking voters to vote against Houston Independent School District Proposition 1 on the November 8 ballot.

“The people who wrote Prop. 1 say it’s about attendance credits. But it’s not,” Mayor Turner says in the ad. “It’s about taking away a billion dollars from our schools and denying too many kids a quality education.”

Prop. 1 will force HISD to send $162 million of our local tax dollars to the state in February – to start – in theory to be redistributed to other school districts. But that’s not the worst of it, because there is no guarantee any of the funds will be used for education.

It’s called “recapture” or sometimes, “Robin Hood,” and it will bankrupt our schools. The amount of tax dollars taken for redistribution goes up every year – and will exceed $1 billion in four years.

Then I saw this Op-Ed by Dale Craymer of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association in the Chron yesterday:

Houston Independent School District voters face an unhappy choice this November – vote “YES” or “FOR” on Proposition 1 to authorize the state to recapture roughly $160 million of the school district’s property taxes or just vote “NO” or “AGAINST.”

It seems like a no-brainer. School board members, several other local officials and the Houston Chronicle editorial board are urging a “NO” vote, as a way to protest a state school finance system commonly referred to as “Robin Hood.”

What folks aren’t being told, though, is that a “NO” vote is a “YES” vote for higher taxes.

The election is required because the value of property relative to the number of its students has grown so rapidly that Houston ISD is now considered a “wealthy district” under the state’s school funding mechanism. For Texas’ school finance system to meet constitutional muster, revenues must be equalized – a system commonly referred to as “Robin Hood.” Wealthy districts have to turn over a portion of their taxes so they can be used by poorer districts. The simplest way to do that is for Houston ISD to write a check to the state – something that must be authorized by local voters, and what Proposition 1 would allow.

Nobody wants their local tax dollars to leave the district, so “NO” seems like an easy vote. Unfortunately if “NO” prevails, the Commissioner of Education by law MUST detach approximately $20 billion of high-value business properties from Houston ISD and assign them to a less wealthy district. That equates to approximately 40 percent of all business property and 12 percent of the total taxable value of the district. This is not a one-time process. The commissioner will have to continue to detach more property each year as Houston’s values rise.

Those properties obviously won’t physically move, but they will send their tax dollars to a different school district. Houston ISD has a relatively low tax rate, so the detached properties will likely be assigned to a school district with a higher tax rate. As a result, the owners of detached properties could face as much as a $30 million tax increase.

However, properties left behind will see a tax hike, too. Houston ISD levies a property tax to pay off its bonded debt. That money is not subject to recapture. So if the commissioner detaches $20 billion of value, the tax base becomes that much smaller, and the district will need a higher tax rate to make its debt payments – 12 percent higher, or about 2 cents per $100 of value. For the owner of a $300,000 home, that amounts to about $50 a year in higher property taxes – an amount that will increase over time as more property is detached.

Here is the entire Op-Ed: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Craymer-Voting-no-on-HISD-recapture-could-be-a-9974925.php.

Interesting. So if Proposition One goes down some commercial properties within HISD could be getting their tax bills from Edgewood ISD or Ysleta ISD? If they are being assigned to a poorer school district, chances are they have a higher tax rate. Edgewood has a rate of 1.3359 per $100 taxable value. Ysleta 1.35.   HISD is at 1.1967. I don’t know about that. I don’t know about potentially sticking it to some local commercial property owners with a higher tax rate. It feels like they are being used as pawns. There is something wrong with this.

I asked my HISD trustee about this and she said she is voting yes.

Cleveland is up 3-0 in the ALCS.   They have lost out the last three times they went to the World Serious – 1954, 1995 and 1997. Who beat them those three times?

Let’s see. Donald Trump is fighting Secretary Hillary Clinton, the media and his own GOP leaders. Clinton is fighting Trump, Wikileaks, and the Russians. Sounds like a fair fight to me.

Here is what Sen. Marco Rubio said yesterday about the rigged election thing:

“This election is not being rigged. There is no evidence behind any of this, so this should not continue to be said. We have 67 counties in this state, each of which conduct their own elections. I promise you there is not a 67-county conspiracy to rig this election.”

Let’s see if Donald Trump takes a shot at him today.

Ok, from the send your wife out there and tell them it was Billy Bush’s fault department. These tweets:

Steph Haberman ‏@StephLauren 27m27 minutes ago

Want to know what seems like a fantastic idea? Electing a president who can be manipulated by Billy Bush.


Richard Deitsch ‏@richarddeitsch 26m26 minutes ago

How can Donald Trump defeat ISIS if he can’t fend off the trickery of Billy Bush?

Commentary got an email from the Chron saying that I needed to pay my subscription. I checked out when I last paid – a month ago. Oh, well. I am paying about $12.33 a week to have the Chron delivered. Plus, I get total online access.

If I went to the Corner Store and purchased it there, I would be paying $16 a week. Check this Channel 2 story on the Chron and their billing:

Many of you still start your day with coffee and the local paper. But some Houston Chronicle customers called consumer expert Amy Davis when they noticed some funny business with their subscriptions. Most customers Davis spoke with describe the same scenario: They paid for a year-long subscription, but they begin receiving notices that it’s time to renew after only 9 months.

Shailesh Vyas has subscribed to the Chronicle more than 15 years; but he says the paper started taking more money out of his bank account each month with no notice.

“We like to keep in touch with what’s going on,” said Vyas, explaining to Davis why he subscribes to the Chronicle. 

Just as Vyas faithfully reads the business section each day, his wife keeps track of the family’s finances. She noticed some funny business in the withdrawals the Houston Chronicle was making from their bank account. Their usual $26 a month subscription went up to $30 in july. In September, it was $35. That’s an almost 35% increase in 4 months.

“Well, what’s going on here?” Vyas asked. “Why is the rate increase so high?” 

He’s not the only one asking. The Houston Better Business Bureau has received 304 complaints in the last three years. 119 of those were about “billing and collection issues”.

Here is the entire story: http://www.click2houston.com/news/newspaper-billing-issues-channel-2-investigates-price-increases.

A while back, they used to have on their payment page when you last paid and for how long of a period the payment covered. I can’t seem to find that webpage anymore. I need to start paying better attention to this.

In 1954, Cleveland got swept by the New York Giants. In 1995, they lost to the ATL in 6 and in 1997, they lost to the Marlins in 7 of course.

I don’t have anything from The Yard today.


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