The Cypress-Fairbanks school district is asking Houston-area voters to approve a $1.2 billion bond package this election cycle. If approved, the billion-dollar-plus proposal (details here) would mean higher property taxes and a surge of local debt-and that’s not sitting well with many conservative residents.
From today’s Houston Chronicle:
The growing tea party movement is lobbying against this bond proposal, going door to door to appeal to the 21,000 Cy-Fair ISD residents who voted in the Republican primary. It’s the same type of organized opposition that had a hand in defeating Katy ISD’s $99 million bond issue in November and Lone Star College’s nearly $500 million bond package last May. “You’re going to see a lot more of these bond issues in May fail,” said Tom Bazan, Harris County Precinct 661 chair for the Republican Party.
While opposition to the school bond entails many things, two of conservatives’ main sticking points center on taxes and debt.
Regarding the former, Texas already ranks as the 15th most punitive property tax state in the nation; so it shouldn’t be a surprise that many taxpayers are up-in-arms over increasing the local property tax even further. Over a five-year period, according to the district, the proposed tax increase for a $200,000 home would add another $65.25 a year to a homeowner’s tax bill.
Regarding the latter, Cy-Fair ISD is already drowning in debt. According to the Texas Bond Review Board, the district’s existing debt totals almost $2.8 billion, making it one of the most heavily indebted districts in the state. If Cy-Fair ISD’s new $1.2 billion debt proposal succeeds, the district’s total outstanding debt could well reach into the stratosphere.
Whether or not voters sign-off on Cy-Fair ISD’s proposal is to be seen; but one thing is certain: Texans are, in growing numbers all around the state, beginning to push back against reckless local debt and the high taxes necessary to sustain it. And it’s about time.