Property tax reform remains a hot topic in Austin with community colleges across the state now voicing their concerns about possibly capping the growth rate at 2.5 percent.
“Moving from an eight percent rollback to a 2.5 is a huge decline and how do you manage it in tough times?” asks Dr. Brenda Hellyer, chancellor of San Jacinto College.
Hellyer fears tuition costs could rise if Senate Bill 2 is approved on top of declining state revenue.
“The state appropriation is declining or not increasing and then you cap those property taxes, if you have a big change in your financial picture, the only that can adjust is tuition and fees,” she says.
Unlike four-year schools, community colleges do not receive any state money to maintain their campuses.
“Community colleges across the state have about 40 percent of our revenue from property taxes, 37 percent from tuition and fees, and 23 percent from state appropriations,” says Hellyer.