Local Property Taxes Total $20 Billion in Taxes
For tax year 1999, some 3,523 local taxing units levied more than $20 billion in property taxes. The total number of taxing units reporting a property tax was up by 30 units. Total property taxes grew at the same rate as taxable values, about 6 percent above tax year 1998. Taxable values of properties are values after deducting for any property tax exemptions.Property taxes vs. other taxes
School property taxes imposed by 1,035 independent school districts represented 59 percent of total property taxes. School taxes grew 6 percent to reach $12 billion in 1999. The taxable values of properties in school districts increased at just under 6 percent, exceeding $779 billion.
City property taxes increased 8 percent, exceeding $3.2 billion. Thirteen additional cities reported levying 1999 taxes. Total city taxable property values appreciated 8.5 percent to total $571 billion.
County property taxes totaled almost $3 billion in 1999 for a 5-percent increase from 1998. Looking at Texas county general fund tax rates, county taxable property values exceeded a 6-percent growth, reaching $876 billion.
The levy of some 1,227 special districts rose by 8 percent to exceed $2 billion on $1.65 trillion of taxable property value. Special districts include junior colleges, hospitals, utilities, flood control, rural fire and other special-purpose districts. Table 1 below compares tax levies from 1998 to 1999 by type of taxing unit.
Each year the Comptroller publishes an annual report on property taxes, required by Property Tax Code Section 5.09. The annual report includes the total appraised values of each county appraisal district (CAD) as well as the taxable value, tax rate and property tax levy of each taxing unit that reported to the Comptroller.
New for the 1999 report is a listing of the 1,227 special districts in the state, in county order. The listing gives each special district's taxable value, tax rate and tax levy information.
Here are more highlights from the Annual Property Tax Report for Tax Year 1999.
Table 2 shows the growth in property tax levies by the four major types of taxing units since 1985. For these 15 years, the total of all taxing units' property taxes grew 126 percent.
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 below looks at 1998 property taxes ($19.1 billion), which local governments spent in 1999, versus state and other local taxes collected and spent in fiscal year 1999, which ended August 31, 1999.Freeport exemption
*Chart gives the 1998 local property tax levy, collections from which local governments spent in calendar year 1999. Chart also gives amouns collected of other local taxes as well as the major state taxes, which were collected and spent in fiscal year 1999, ending August 31, 1999.
** Does not include local utility, hotel/motel, mixed beverage and other taxes.
SOURCE: Carole Keeton Rylander, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Using this comparison basis, major state and local sales taxes and property taxes in 1999 totaled approximately $46.6 billion. Property taxes remained the single largest type of tax at 41 percent of this total.
State sales taxes, the next largest revenue source at $13.1 billion represented 28 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 51 percent.
Local city and county sales taxes, along with metropolitan transit authority (MTA) taxes, represent 8.4 percent of the total taxes.
The Annual Report also looks at the status of freeport property in Texas. 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. In 1990, school districts, counties, cities and junior college districts gained the right to choose whether or not to tax freeport property.
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 18 taxing units in 1999 to 219. The amount of value exempted for these taxing units also increased almost 20 percent to $19 billion.
Some junior college districts also exempt freeport property, but the Comptrollers 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 3 lists the total exempted value by counties, cities and school districts for the freeport exemption for 1998 and 1999.
The Comptroller's Annual Property Tax Report for Tax Year 1999 is available. The agency will send one copy to members of the Texas Legislature and to each county appraisal district and county tax office. To order an Annual Report, send a check or money order for $10 to the Comptrollers Property Tax Division, P. O. Box 13528, Austin, Texas 78711-3528. An order form can be downloaded. (To view and print this form you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you will need to download it.)
For more information, please e-mail the Comptrollers property tax technical assistance at email@example.com. Or, call the Property Tax Division at 1-800-252-9121, option 2. In Austin, call (512) 305-9999.