Mission taxpayers can expect a higher tax bill should city officials’ follow through on their proposed 2020 budget. The City of Mission is planning to increase property taxes by 3 cents, from 0.48 cents per $100 valuation to 0.5212 per $100 valuation.

The City justifies the tax increase by stating that this is their first tax increase since 2011. However, Mission citizens’s pocketbooks know that is not entirely truthful. As assessed property values rise, so do tax bills, if city officials do not adjust their tax rate to offset those increases. According to the Hidalgo County Appraisal District, the average taxable value in Mission in 2011 was about $110,000.

Now in 2019, the average taxable value in Mission is about $135,000. Under the proposed tax rate, the average resident homeowner can expect about a $47 tax increase from last year. 

At a city meeting to decide the tax rate, Mayor Armando O’Caña was the lone vote against the proposed hike, but not for reasons taxpayers may appreciate: He instead favored a higher tax increase of 0.5 cents. Alluding to Senate Bill 2, the mayor expressed his opinion that the city should raise as much money as possible before they would have to go to an election. SB 2, passed this year by the Texas Legislature, will lower the rollback tax rate from 8 percent to 3.5 percent and will set in place an automatic election trigger where most cities and counties will have to seek voter approval for any take hike above that percentage. 

The reform was the result of Texans calling for action to slow the growth of their property taxes. 

However, that new law does not go into effect until next year. Mission is only one of a number of cities across Texas racing against the clock to raise taxes one last time before SB 2 goes into effect.

The city could join other local taxing entities in a property tax revolution by adopting their “effective” tax rate. This rate, also known as the “no-new-revenue” rate, is the tax rate at which the city would see about the same tax revenue as the previous year. It adjusts from year to year to reflect changing property values and deductions. That rate for Mission is 0.4844 cents per $100 valuation. Mission, however, is opting to pick up the tax rate by 3 cents rather than adopting this “no-new-revenue” rate or even keeping the same rate.

Texas law requires that a taxing entity hold two public hearings should the city opt to raise taxes above the “effective” tax rate.

Mission citizens will have an opportunity to voice their opinion at those two hearings, scheduled for September 9 and September 16 at city hall.

David Vasquez

David Vasquez is a native of the Rio Grande Valley, where he was born and raised in Weslaco, TX. He attended The University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor's degree in Government and a minor in English. Following graduation in 2019, David returned home and began writing for Texas Scorecard.