An October 1 analysis from the Harris County Tax Office confirms the vaunted school property tax cut will be short-lived.

Paul Betttencourt’s number-crunching shows that by 2009, the HISD school property taxes on the average residence will be only 2.02% less than in 2005. That pales in comparison to the burden many of those families will pay under the new business by either having their own business or paying more for products and services. The analysis also shows that school property taxes on the average commercial property will be 28.08% higher in 2009 than in 2005. And that’s before the possible additional increase of another 30% that may be caused by the Comptroller’s audit.

This must be put in context of the announcement this week that the state surplus (overpayment in taxes) is $1.5 billion higher than expected due to increased tax revenues. Some of that will go for a 2% raise for state employees that was in the budget contingent on there being extra money, but there is no contingent tax cut. There could and perhaps should be a special session to give the extra money back to taxpayers, but barring that it must be the top priority in January 2009.

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