So you think you’re getting tax relief? If you live in Houston, chances are you are not. The school district there are doing everything they can to reach into your family’s pocket-book and exact every last dollar they can.

Houston ISD and Cypress-Fairbanks ISD are going for almost $1 billion each in new spending, while Spring Branch ISD and Fort Bend ISD are hoping to generate an additional $500 million each. The spending comes from bonded indebtedness – and therefore higher taxes.

For those living in HISD, that would amount to a 3-cent increase in the property tax rate. That’s eating into the tax rate reduction the legislature bought last year (even though, thanks to appraisal creep, you are still paying much higher tax burdens), and bottom-line translates into yet higher tax bills.

Is it worth it? One HISD school board member, Greg Meyer, is quoted in the Houston Chronicle as saying he thinks the proposal “basically amounts to a blank check.” (The HISD school board is going to decide whether or not to push out the bond proposal on Thursday; unless they hear from their constituents, it looks like an all-but forgone conclusion that it'll pass.) 

Seems like taxpayers have been asked to write a lot of blank checks, and trust that the money is being spent well. Those days never should have begun, but they certainly should now be over.

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Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."