Apr 24, 2013 6:47 PM by Andrew Ellison - email@example.com
SINTON - A bill making it's way through the State Legislature could hurt funding for local school districts.
Just about every school district in Texas relies on property taxes for funding. In Sinton, it's 21% of their annual budget.
But Senate Bill 476 could hurt that funding, by potentially putting a high amount of delinquent taxpayers on long payment plans.
Most homeowners who are late on their property taxes could file to be on the payment plan. All they would need is a homestead exemption, provided that they hadn't already violated a payment plan.
It if passes, anyone who opts into the payment plan would have at least a year to pay the taxes off and as many as three.
Sinton I.S.D. Superintendent Steve Van Matre says for a district like Sinton, that budgets $4.2 million annually in property tax revenue, the possible delays are scary.
"That could at the worst case, impact my budget 21%, which would be devastating. I couldn't make payroll," he says.
And while the bill is intended to give people time to pay their taxes off, it could be tough for school districts to put together annual budgets, if the delinquent taxes go on for multiple years.
"How do you budget with that variable. With our budget, we don't have a lot of discretionary funds," Van Matre says.
Bottom line is longer payment plans could mean more question marks for those who bank on those funds.
The bill passed the Senate and has been assigned to committee in the House.