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'The legislative fix is dead': Nueces County, other entities to face millions in deficits next year

The Nueces County Courthouse
Posted at 8:42 PM, Jul 12, 2023

Taxing entities like Nueces County, school districts and the Hospital District had been hoping for a legislative change to avoid the loss of over $100 million dollars in tax revenue.

On Wednesday they learned that fix won't happen.

This all comes from a valuation change for the oil refineries Flint Hills Resources and Valero Energy. Last year they were valued at around $1 billion each, but this year their valuations jumped to over $6 billion each, meaning they would owe a whole lot more in taxes.

That 500% jump means that property taxes will go down for others. But because these refineries will be contesting this value, taxing entities will be working with a shortfall of millions of dollars each.

"The county is probably going to be anywhere between $20 to $25 million, I've heard numbers from Del Mar in the $18-19 million range," Nueces County Tax Assessor Kevin Kieschnick said.

There could have been a fix that lawmakers had the ability to change.

Currently, large companies challenging their appraisals have until January to tell the appraisal district how much they believe they are worth.

The proposed change would have required these companies to state their value six months earlier in July. This would be closer to when tax rates are being set and would allow rates to change to avoid a deficit.

After several meetings with the governor's office, Kieschnick was told that the priority was the income tax bills.

He told 6 Investigates that while the cuts will be deep, the shortfall is not due to negligence.

"It's not somebody who had misspending, this is not the result of any prior administration, this is a result strictly of a sudden loss of revenue," Kieschnick said.

Officials told 6 Investigates that this is the worst-case scenario and that cuts to staff and services will have to be made.

The impacts on entities like school districts or indigent care are currently unknown.

6 Investigates should have a better idea of how hard each entity will be hit by the end of the month, and Nueces County Commissioners may be addressing it in further detail on July 26.

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