For taxpayers, this should be a time to celebrate. After all, the Texas Legislature just approved a historic measure of tax relief, estimated to lower the average homeowner’s tax bill by more than $1,300 this year alone. This whopping reduction, of course, came in response to widespread public outcry that taxes had grown too big, too fast.

And yet, despite this much-needed taxpayer victory, Texans shouldn’t let their guard down.

That’s because local governments everywhere seem to be scheming over how to get a big cut of your relief. For their part, school districts appear to be favoring two approaches—asking voters to approve massive amounts of new debt and holding voter-approval tax rate elections (VATREs) to permit much higher tax rates than would otherwise be allowed.

Of course, both approaches are taxpayer-unfriendly; however, VATREs may be viewed as a bit more problematic than bond propositions since they work directly against tax compression efforts, they can forestall needed changes in the operating budget (think: elimination, consolidation, and cost reduction), and they do not have user-friendly ballot language (meaning there are legitimate questions about whether voters understand the implications of what they are being asked to decide).

Given the difficult nature of VATREs—which I have argued in the past should be renamed “Tax Increase Elections” or TIEs—it’s important to keep an eye on which ISDs are holding these elections and their purported reasons for doing so.

In that vein, here are 17 school districts holding VATREs in November 2023 and, if successful, set to gorge themselves on monies that would otherwise go toward lowering people’s taxes. Is yours on the list?

  1. Brownsville ISD
  2. Canyon ISD
  3. Cedar Hill ISD
  4. Clear Creek ISD
  5. Granbury ISD
  6. Groesbeck ISD
  7. Fort Bend ISD
  8. Forney ISD
  9. Friendswood ISD
  10. Lewisville ISD
  11. Lindale ISD
  12. Lockhart ISD
  13. Midway ISD
  14. Nazareth ISD
  15. Pearland ISD
  16. Pflugerville ISD
  17. Round Rock ISD