Local NewsTaxes & SpendingCorsicana City Council Moves Forward With No-New-Revenue Tax Rate, Spurns Property Tax Increase

The city chose not to increase property taxes from the previous year, something few localities are planning this year.
August 15, 2022
The City of Corsicana is swimming against the current of its peers by moving forward with the no-new-revenue (NNR) tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year.

The NNR assures no year-to-year tax increase, keeping the amount of total property tax collections the same despite rising appraisal values save for new property added to the rolls. When political subdivisions adopt tax rates, unless the NNR or one lower is adopted, property taxes will rise even if the rate itself is lowered from the previous year.

While it hasn’t been officially adopted yet, the Corsicana City Council voted to move forward with that as its blueprint.

“By using the No New Revenue Rate,” Corsicana City Councilman Chris Woolsey said, “Corsicana is taking the lead in Navarro County for responsible budgeting and property tax relief.”

Woolsey then touted it as a “true tax cut [that] will collect fewer property tax dollars than the previous three budgets.”

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The city’s 2021 adopted rate for the following fiscal year was about a 2 percent increase. The year before that was a 6.7 percent decrease, preceded by a 9 percent increase in 2019.

The NNR means city tax bills in Corsicana should remain largely level, with some exceptions occurring in both directions depending on individual appraisal changes and exemptions.

And with those exemptions, such as the 10 percent homestead taxable value increase cap, many homeowners may see a decrease in the city portion of their tax bill.

In its proposed budget, the city estimates about $600,000 less in property tax collections than in 2021 — something that on its face should not be the case with the NNR. According to both Corsicana City Manager Connie Standridge and Navarro County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Dowd, part of the discrepancy stems from a disagreement over Tax Increment Financing (TIF).

A TIF is an abatement program through Chapter 311 of the state tax code — an agreement between a private entity, or multiple entities, and the local political subdivision that reduces the taxable value of property for a set period of time.

The TIF ended, according to Dowd and Standridge, and while the city hoped for its extension through new improvement qualifications, the abatement in question was not continued — resulting in an increase in the total taxable value of property in the city than otherwise would have occurred.

Regardless, the city doesn’t plan on bringing in more property tax revenue than last year.

Standridge said the city’s bright sales tax expectations and expense cuts will balance out the decrease in tax revenue for its budget. She added that next session, they will seek a legislative fix for the similar situations down the road so that “localities are not punished for TIF expirations.”

Corsicana has a population of 25,203, up less than 2,000 from the 2010 Census.

In 2019, the state legislature reformed the property tax system, prioritizing the new “Truth in Taxation” requirements that put the “effective rate,” now the NNR and the “rollback rate,” now the voter-approval rate, into more layman’s terms.

They also lowered the voter-approval cap — the point at which a political subdivision must seek approval from voters to increase property taxes — to 3.5 percent for cities and counties and 2.5 percent for school districts.

This new provision substantially reduced the amount of increases property taxpayers experienced year-to-year without voter input, but few localities actually reduce property taxes or keep them level.

Heading into next session, momentum is building for property tax reductions by way of a state buydown of the school district Maintenance & Operations rate which is the single largest portion of local tax bills. If passed, that would not affect the City of Corsicana bills, but its taxpayers would see overall reductions.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.

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