This budget news is really really bad.
Thirty percent of Harris County homes declined in market value this year, as the area’s overall tax base dropped for the first time in at least two decades, officials announced Thursday.
The reduced tax revenue will likely require substantial budget cuts for the 600 taxing entities in the county, including cities, school districts, community colleges and municipal utility districts.
Harris County tax rolls, buffeted by residential foreclosures and business failures, are expected to decrease more than $11 billion for 2010. The overall decline represents a drop of more than 4 percent from last year.
Jim Robinson, who heads the Harris County Appraisal District, said only 1 percent of residences, most of them in the Katy and Cypress-Fairbanks areas, rose in market value. Hardest hit were homes worth more than $1 million and those worth between $80,000 and $150,000.
By the appraisal district’s calculations, the 2010 tax base for the Houston Independent School District is expected to drop by slightly more than 4 percent. School district spokesman Norm Uhl said the loss in revenue will be made up by the state.
The city of Houston’s tax base should shrink by about 5 percent.
City Controller Ronald Green said the tax base decline likely will result in a budget shortfall of at least $32 million — on top of the $100 million gap the city already expects.
I don’t even know what to say. If you thought last year was bad, it’s about to get a lot worse.