Commissioners sign resolution against proposed Texas Senate Bill 2

Lyndel Moody
Staff Writer

Howard County Commissioners signed a resolution Monday in opposition to Texas Senate Bill 2 and revenue caps joining other city and county taxing entities around the state which have signed similar resolutions.
The bill filed by state Senator Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, caps city and county governments at a 4 percent increase in taxes before triggering a rollback election. Currently that number is at 8 percent.
County Judge Kathryn Wiseman said the bill’s effect may limit county governments for raising much needed revenue to pay for critical services, especially with the mounting state issued unfunded mandates.
“I think the Texas legislature is doing a shell game, short of a bait and switch,” Wiseman said. “They are standing up and saying our Texas citizens are paying too much on their taxes, and we’re going to put a limit on the taxing entities ability to get funds, tax dollars, to support themselves and to supply services. Your school district gets the lion’s share of your tax dollars. They are educating your kids. Let’s put a cap on all the entities, and say you can only raised this amount.”
In 40 years, the county has not held a rollback election, Wiseman pointed out. Reducing the limit to 4 percent will the hinder local entities’ efforts to raise revenue when it is really needed, she added.
“The last time we replaced chillers – it was in 1995 – we had to float a $19 million bond,” she said. “We just got finished last year paying that off. We would like to be able to put something away for those types of expense. If we need to go up a couple of cents or event 8 cents, we would like to be able to have that leeway, so we can reserve those fund to make those big payments for things we need.”

To read more of this story, see today's issue of the Big Spring Herald.