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Part I:
Property Taxation Statewide

The Texas Constitution authorizes local governments to levy property taxes. Local governments include counties, school districts, cities, and special districts such as junior colleges, hospitals, utilities, flood control and rural fire districts.

In each of the state's 254 counties, a single appraisal district determines the appraised value of taxable property. Potter and Randall County Appraisal Districts have formed a single appraisal office in Amarillo.) Local governments, commonly-called taxing units, levy property taxes based on the property values set by the county appraisal districts.

Table 1 shows that in 2002, about 3,655 local taxing units levied more than $27 billion in property taxes, about 8 percent more than in 2001.

By type of taxing unit, school districts, cities and counties each increased taxes about 8 percent from 2001. School property taxes — imposed by 1,033 independent school districts and representing about 60 percent of total property taxes — totaled more than $16.4 billion in 2002. City property taxes increased to exceed $4 billion. County property taxes topped $3.8 billion in 2002. The levy of special districts rose by 6 percent to total just under $2.9 billion.

TABLE 1: Property Taxes Reported by Unit Type - 2001 vs. 2002
  2001 2002
Unit Type No. of Units Tax Levy Percent of Levy No. of Units Tax Levy Percent of Levy Percent Increase
School districts* 1,035 $15,155,217,587 59.9% 1,033 $16,418,788,831 60.1% 8.3%
Cities 1,027 $3,884,829,249 15.3% 1,031 $4,186,795,363 15.3% 7.8%
Counties 254 $3,566,857,130 14.1% 254 $3,849,728,346 14.1% 7.9%
Special districts 1,288 $2,703,512,059 10.7% 1,337 $2,864,454,984 10.5% 6.0%
Total 3,604 $25,310,416,025 100.0% 3,655 $27,319,767,524 100.0% 7.9%
*Includes:
County Equalization   $25,907,038     $26,870,618  
South Texas ISD   $9,140,424     $9,816,979  
Totals may not add due to rounding.
School district consolidations occurred from 2001 to 2002.
Source: Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Property Tax Growth

Table 2 shows the growth in property tax levies by the four major types of taxing units since 1985. For these 18 years, the total of all taxing units' property taxes grew 205 percent.

TABLE 2: Growth of the Property Tax by Unit Type - 1985 - 2002
Tax Year Special District
Levy
County Levy City Levy School Levy Total Property
Tax Levy
1985 $1,056,802,000 $1,427,755,000 $1,820,345,000 $ 4,663,892,000 $ 8,968,794,000
1986 $1,141,652,000 $1,482,295,000 $1,966,674,000 $ 5,026,592,000 $ 9,617,213,000
1987 $1,176,667,000 $1,539,953,000 $2,028,743,000 $ 5,218,820,000 $ 9,964,183,000
1988 $1,232,415,000 $1,595,183,000 $2,145,726,000 $ 5,575,843,000 $10,549,167,000
1989 $1,284,165,144 $1,715,691,860 $2,200,415,156 $ 6,072,227,279 $11,272,499,439
1990 $1,354,607,273 $1,743,176,612 $2,218,971,749 $ 6,605,433,619 $11,922,189,253
1991* $1,459,643,501 $1,894,013,461 $2,303,609,801 $ 7,566,042,099* $13,223,308,862
1992* $1,492,043,534 $1,996,116,460 $2,311,630,199 $ 8,181,309,478* $13,981,099,671
1993 $1,535,769,813 $2,176,974,573 $2,362,404,482 $ 8,681,859,148 $14,757,008,016
1994 $1,620,504,796 $2,311,389,149 $2,493,554,910 $ 9,024,885,601 $15,450,334,456
1995 $1,628,217,607 $2,391,961,283 $2,596,742,540 $ 9,340,994,056 $15,957,915,486
1996 $1,698,557,436 $2,537,183,937 $2,701,214,386 $ 9,910,195,171 $16,847,150,930
1997 $1,759,622,591 $2,658,308,076 $2,847,081,480 $10,394,500,372 $17,659,512,519
1998 $1,889,138,306 $2,828,286,927 $3,005,996,060 $11,334,614,289 $19,058,035,582
1999 $2,041,041,011 $2,979,279,400 $3,247,964,177 $12,009,923,498 $20,278,208,086
2000 $2,389,110,312 $3,200,919,731 $3,530,863,516 $13,392,336,012 $22,513,229,571
2001 $2,703,512,059 $3,566,857,130 $3,884,829,249 $15,155,217,587 $25,310,416,025
2002 $2,864,454,984 $3,849,728,346 $4,186,795,363 $16,418,788,831 $27,319,767,524
*1991 and 1992 include County Education Districts.
Source: Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Property Taxes vs. Other Taxes

When examining how large a role property taxes play compared to other state and local taxes, it is important to remember that different collection cycles exist. The analysis shown in Figure A looks at 2001 property taxes ($25.3 billion), which local governments spent in calendar year 2002, versus state and other local taxes collected and spent in fiscal year 2002, which ended August 31, 2002.

Pie Chart

Using this comparison basis, major state and local sales taxes and property taxes in 2002 totaled approximately $55.5 billion. Property taxes remained the single largest type of tax at almost 46 percent of this total.

State sales taxes, the next largest revenue source at $14.5 billion, represented just above 26 percent of the total. When combined with other state taxes — such as motor fuels and motor vehicle taxes, the franchise tax, oil and gas severance taxes, "sin" taxes, and others — the state's share of the total tax levy is about 47 percent.

Local city and county sales taxes, along with metropolitan transit authority (MTA) taxes, were 7.1 percent of the total, compared to 7.4 percent from the preceding year.

Tax Rate Rollback Activity

Voters in five of eight taxing units decided to rollback or limit the 2002 tax rate. They included three school districts and two cities. In comparison, voters in four of 34 taxing units decided to rollback or limit the 2001 tax rate.

The three independent school districts (ISDs) that had voters not ratify a higher 2002 tax rate were Garner ISD, Parker County; Glen Rose ISD, Somervell County; and Mirando City ISD, Webb County. Voters in Trent ISD in Taylor County and Webb Consolidated ISD in Webb County ratified the higher tax rate adopted by their school boards.

Three cities held 2002 tax rate rollback elections, with two passing and one failing. The City of Buda in Hays County and the City of Prosper in Collin County had to reduce their adopted tax rates to their rollback rates. The City of Fairview in Collin County had its rollback election fail.

Two other taxing units had 2002 tax rate rollback petitions presented to their governing bodies. Both the Hidalgo County Commissioners and the Hopkins County Hospital District Board found that the petitions presented did not contain the required number of signatures. State law requires that the petition must be signed by at least 10 percent of the registered voters shown on the most recent official voters list for the taxing unit.

Table 3 lists the taxing units with a successful election. Table 4 lists those taxing units that had the rollback election fail. Both tables provide the election date, election results, the adopted tax rate, the rollback tax rate, and the percentage the adopted tax rate exceeded the district’s rollback rate. Tax rates are per $100 of value.

Unlike other types of taxing units, a school district that adopts a tax rate above the rollback rate must hold a rollback election between 30 and 90 days after the rate is adopted. No petition by citizens is required. The school district’s election differs from other types of units in that voters are asked to ratify their school’s adopted tax rate. If a simple majority of the votes cast in the election favor the adopted tax rate, then the adopted rate stands. If the voters disapprove the adopted rate, the school district’s rollback rate becomes the adopted tax rate. After the outcome of the election, school tax bills are mailed.

TABLE 3 - 2002 Rollback Election Results for Units Reducing Tax Rate
Taxing Unit and
Election Date
County Election Results 2002 Tax Rate Rollback Rate/% Increase
City
Buda
2/1/03
Hays Passed
For - 227
Against - 98
.1301
old rate .2199
.1301/69%
Prosper
2/1/03
Collin Passed
For - 204
Against - 96
.3199
old rate .36
.3199/13%
School District
Garner ISD
11/5/02
Parker Against ratification
Against - 135
For - 123
1.4632
old rate 1.55
1.4632/6%
Glen Rose ISD
9/14/02
Somervell Against ratification
Against - 423
For - 378
1.0753
old rate 1.18
1.0753/10%
Mirando City ISD
9/21/02
Webb Against ratification
Against - 26
For - 21
.54
old rate 1.25
.54/131%
Source: Comptroller's Property Tax Division.

TABLE 4 - 2002 Rollback Election Results for Units Not Reducing Tax Rate
Taxing Unit and
Election Date
County Election Results 2002 Tax Rate Rollback Rate/% Increase
City
Fairview
2/1/03
Collin Failed
Against - 739
For - 486
.29 .1777/63%
School District
Trent ISD
11/5/02
Taylor Ratified
For - 74
Against - 38
1.6988 .8944/90%
Webb Consolidated ISD
11/5/02
Webb Ratified
For - 114
Against - 49
.80 .65/23%
Source: Comptroller's Property Tax Division.

Table 5 provides a history of rollback elections since 1982, the first year for the special elections, for all types of taxing units.

TABLE 5 - Successful Rollback Elections - 1982 - 2002
Tax Year School Districts Counties Cities Special Districts Total
1982 11 of 24 6 of 6 2 of 3 2 of 2 21 of 35
1983 2 of 4 4 of 4 0 of 1 0 6 of 9
1984 0 of 3 1 of 1 4 of 4 0 of 1 5 of 9
1985 1 of 1 4 of 4 3 of 5 0 8 of 10
1986 2 of 4 2 of 2 2 of 3 1 of 2 7 of 11
1987 2 of 9 1 of 1 3 of 7 3 of 5 9 of 22
1988 4 of 12 3 of 3 4 of 7 1 of 2 12 of 24
1989 10 of 23 4 of 6 6 of 7 1 of 2 21 of 38
1990 6 of 11 3 of 4 2 of 4 3 of 5 14 of 24
1991 1 of 1 2 of 2 2 of 4 1 of 1 6 of 8
1992 0 0 of 1 3 of 3 0 of 1 3 of 5
1993 0 of 3 1 of 2 2 of 2 0 3 of 7
1994 1 of 2 1 of 2 3 of 3 1 of 1 6 of 8
1995 0 of 2 0 1 of 4 0 1 of 6
1996 1 of 3 0 1 of 4 2 of 2 4 of 9
1997 0 0 1 of 1 0 1 of 1
1998 2 of 4 0 2 of 3 0 4 of 7
1999 3 of 11 0 0 of 1 0 of 1 3 of 13
2000 2 of 11 2 of 2 2 of 2 0 of 1 6 of 16
2001 2 of 30 0 of 1 1 of 2 1 of 1 4 of 34
2002 3 of 5 0 of 0 2 of 3 0 of 0 5 of 8
Total 53 of 163 34 of 41 46 of 73 16 of 27 149 of 304
Percentage 32.5% 83% 63% 59% 49%
Source: Comptroller's Property Tax Division.

Freeport Exemption

In 1990, school districts, counties, cities and junior college districts gained the right to choose whether or not to tax freeport property. The Property Tax Code Section 11.251 defines freeport property as goods held in Texas temporarily for up to 175 days for assembling, processing, manufacturing, storage or other purposes.

While the vast majority of school districts, counties, cities, and junior college districts continue to tax freeport property, the number of units that exempt freeport property from taxation increased by 13 taxing units in 2002 to 274. The amount of value exempted for these taxing units dropped from $33 billion to $30 billion, or by almost 10 percent.

Some junior college districts also exempt freeport property, but the Comptroller’s Property Tax Division does not collect data from these entities for that information. State law requires other special districts, such as water districts or hospital districts, to exempt freeport property.

Table 6 lists the total exempted value by counties, cities, and school districts for the freeport exemption for 2001 and 2002. Table 7 lists the freeport value loss by county, Table 8 lists the freeport loss by city, and Table 9 lists the freeport value loss by school district.

TABLE 6 - Taxing Units That Exempt Freeport Property
Types of Taxing Units That Exempt Freeport Property 2001 Number of Units 2001 Taxable Value Loss 2002 Number of Units2002 Taxable Value Loss
County 46 $11.8 billion 46 $10.3 billion
City 109 $10.8 billion115 $9.6 billion
School District 106 $10.6 billion 113 $10.0 billion
Total 261 $33.2 billion 274 $29.9 billion
Source: Comptroller's Property Tax Division.

TABLE 7 - 2002 Freeport Value Loss by County
County Freeport Value Loss
Anderson $28,766,297
Angelina 37,220,674
Archer 1,004,630
Bexar 292,304,410
Bosque 1,758,700
Brazos 12,742,688
Burnet 1,582,551
Coleman 810,840
Collin 662,258,938
Dallas 2,144,994,366
Delta 13,405,631
Denton 755,321,953
Eastland 4,010,940
El Paso 1,147,352,860
Foard 736,720
Gray 10,411,132
Grayson 114,152,788
Guadalupe 83,007,760
Harrison 44,439,088
Hidalgo 153,951,720
Hutchinson 6,444,140
Kaufman 54,890,355
Kendall 3,493,600
Lamar 71,961,960
Lubbock 45,073,875
Maverick 22,147,560
McLennan 124,042,440
Milam 11,844,910
Montgomery 92,130,325
Palo Pinto 8,978,260
Potter 166,342,651
Randall 54,781,958
Rockwall 7,025,287
Runnels 8,211,360
Rusk 2,349,740
Smith 179,579,332
Tarrant 2,857,823,065
Titus 6,221,270
Tom Green 41,694,456
Travis 757,203,483
Val Verde 41,440,170
Walker 2,429,883
Webb 155,280,190
Wharton 10,976,090
Wichita 97,739,047
Young 3,122,870
Total (46 Counties) $10,343,462,963
Source: Comptroller's Property Tax Division.

TABLE 8 - 2002 Freeport Value Loss by City
City Freeport Value Loss
Allen $115,634,991
Amarillo 50,288,668
Anthony 15,064,990
Arlington 118,554,070
Atlanta 775,610
Austin 533,007,214
Azle 44,415
Ballinger 10,302,730
Bee Cave, Village of 34,899
Brookshire 8,550,266
Brownsville 132,685,952
Bryan 4,564,907
Buda 2,354,223
Burkburnett 7,972,129
Canyon 406,573
Cedar Hill 5,391,329
Clarksville 6,991,060
Clifton 1,758,700
Clute 1,198,970
Coleman 810,840
College Station 6,531,511
Combes 228,940
Converse 2,436,460
Cooper 13,100,566
Coppell 103,619,328
Crowell 736,720
Dallas 821,519,661
Del Rio 4,458,540
Denison 43,980,895
Denton 131,150,554
Diboll 4,507,094
Eagle Pass 21,838,580
El Paso 1,058,397,655
Euless 679,140
Farmersville 977,459
Flower Mound 3,287,883
Fort Worth 1,914,931,639
Frisco 6,475,974
Gainesville 11,259,443
Galveston 1,447,830
Garland 200,517,836
Georgetown 17,381,757
Graham 3,121,070
Grand Prairie 259,242,831
Grapevine 570,470,159
Haltom City 19,628,549
Harlingen 17,915,566
Haslet 42,980,258
Henderson 2,349,740
Horizon 2,079,433
Houston 799,053,650
Howe 520,771
Huntsville 1,698,430
Kennedale 10,032,552
Kerrville 3,647,243
La Marque 10,560
Laredo 155,280,190
League City 265,018
Leander 1,385,551
Lewisville 158,136,284
Lindale 3,390,039
Lubbock 39,302,146
Lufkin 15,687,896
Mansfield 45,142,733
Marshall 3,224,766
McAllen 90,640,754
McGregor 13,005,560
McKinney 162,219,142
Mesquite 44,520,747
Midlothian 54,138,191
Mineral Wells 13,577,690
Mission 1,098,772
Muenster 71,735
N Richland Hills 9,975,250
Nacogdoches 19,752,430
Palestine 27,457,137
Paris 70,169,440
Pearland 22,012,030
Pharr 1,119,456
Plano 279,336,788
Ponder 269,752
Red Oak 190,093
Reno 1,792,520
Richland Hills 4,790,433
Roanoke 93,419,611
Rockwall 7,025,287
Rosenberg 207,770
Round Rock 86,591,400
Rowlett 637,033
Saginaw 49,076,490
San Angelo 30,408,962
San Antonio 280,351,580
San Benito 1,979,740
Sanger 6,717,243
Schertz 3,757,788
Seguin 58,132,824
Selma 20,852,397
Shenandoah 617,345
Sherman 66,062,912
Socorro 45,968,450
Southlake 4,263,132
Southmayd 541,399
Stafford 132,178,630
Stephenville 41,394,451
Sunnyvale 29,260,704
Taylor 11,106,320
Terrell 52,970,775
The Colony 1,221,747
Tyler 81,916,857
Waco 109,573,440
Wichita Falls 52,524,861
Willis 860,689
Winnsboro 2,664,810
Winters 7,908,630
Woodway 451,480
Total (115 Cities) $9,637,206,113
Source: Comptroller's Property Tax Division.

TABLE 9 - 2002 Freeport Value Loss by School District (ISD)
School District (ISD) Freeport Value Loss
Alamo Heights $7,043,780
Aledo 38,580
Alief 30,400,110
Allen 115,634,991
Amarillo 33,879,637
Archer City 1,004,630
Arp 15,546
Ballinger 10,302,730
Bastrop 6,130,512
Birdville 74,538,492
Boerne 3,493,600
Borger 3,968,220
Brazosport 184,540,050
Brownsville 134,343,085
Burkburnett 26,938,355
Canutillo 44,834,692
Canyon 48,021,466
Cedar Hill 5,391,329
Chapel Hill 289,434
Chisum 26,003,810
City View 16,583,595
Clint 2,226,584
Coleman 810,840
Cooper 13,405,631
Coppell 182,787,709
Crowell 736,720
Cypress-Fairbanks 368,875,940
Dallas 708,250,979
Deer Park 209,440,260
Denton 131,150,554
Diboll 222,300
Dumas 31,000,940
Eagle Mt-Saginaw 369,458,893
Eagle Pass 22,147,560
El Paso 344,263,204
Evadale 18,069,870
Everman 32,437,924
Fabens 15,869,999
Fort Bend 149,949,550
Fort Worth 501,515,761
Frisco 6,475,974
Garland 202,743,727
Garner 4,103,000
Graham 3,093,860
Grand Prairie 88,201,066
Grapevine-Colleyville 803,504,667
Harlingen 44,197,697
Henderson 2,349,740
Hidalgo 6,552,882
Highland Park 139,223,506
Humble 6,870,920
Huntsville 1,698,430
Iowa Park 7,896,063
Judson 66,595,660
Klein 18,569,800
La Porte 218,484,290
La Vega 878,870
Lamar Consolidated 909,950
Lewisville 235,252,809
Lindale 3,535,929
Lufkin 32,713,580
Manor 116,179,294
Marble Falls 1,582,551
Marshall 29,808,296
McAllen 79,089,046
McGregor 14,015,700
McKinney 163,823,389
Mesquite 44,095,829
Midlothian 54,519,453
Mission 17,665,753
Montgomery 9,369,863
Nacogdoches 19,752,430
New Waverly 731,453
North Lamar 33,150,140
Northwest 1,004,063,379
Palestine 25,491,466
Paris 12,808,010
Pearland 22,239,380
Pflugerville 237,329,451
Plano 353,628,968
Plemons-Stinnett-Phillips 2,475,920
Point Isabel 11,998,547
Red Oak 190,093
Richardson 239,701,188
Rockdale 8,995,530
Rockwall 7,025,287
Royse City 546,733
San Angelo 30,408,962
San Antonio 91,820,860
San Benito 45,716,403
San Felipe-Del Rio 41,440,170
Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City 24,588,558
Sharyland 24,738,007
Socorro 473,797,942
Spring 35,787,420
Stafford MSD 132,178,630
Stephenville 41,394,451
Sunnyvale 29,260,704
Terrell 53,106,755
Tyler 118,429,098
Veribest 11,285,494
Waco 20,052,130
Waller 9,572,927
Waxahachie 33,103,141
Weatherford 6,891,962
West Orange-Cove 110,176,360
Westwood 3,274,831
Whitehouse 47,701,632
Wichita Falls 46,321,034
Wilmer-Hutchins 14,811,126
Winona 6,856,827
Winters 7,908,630
Ysleta 257,845,156
Total (113 ISDs) $9,998,616,641
Source: Comptroller's Property Tax Division.