2023 Special Election
On September 12, 2023, the Whitehouse City Council called a special election to accomplish two goals:
To change the way the City reports the amount of taxes collected to the State, which will provide greater transparency and reduce government regulations coming out of Austin.
To direct more existing funding to economic development efforts.
This special election will NOT result in a tax increase. Throughout this process, the Council has strongly communicated its desire to continue to decrease the property tax rate, just as it has over the past two budget cycles.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
1. Why do we need this special election?
This election is needed for two reasons.
- The City wants to change how the sales tax is reported to the State to be more transparent. Whitehouse operates with a 1½ cent sales tax, which means that 1½ cents of the 8.25 cents we all pay in sales taxes goes to the City and the rest goes to the County and the State. As it is categorized and reported to the State now, 3/8 of a cent counts as both sales taxes and property taxes. State regulations from Austin examine how much a city collects in property taxes and the State imposes restrictions based on the amount collected and the population of the city. These regulations don’t consider cities, like Whitehouse, that categorize sales taxes as property taxes. This limits the city’s ability to take care of the needs of the citizens. Proposition A will allow the city to avoid burdensome regulations by simply reporting our current processes more transparently.
- This initiative will direct more existing funds to economic development. In 2018, Whitehouse voted to allocate 1/8 of the sales tax to fund economic development. However, no change was made to how the remaining sales tax funds were categorized. Prop A will result in half of the ½ cent continuing to go into the City’s general fund, just as it has since it was established, only now it won't also be counted as property taxes. The other half of the ½ cent will go towards economic development.
2. What will Proposition A accomplish?
Proposition A will reallocate the sales tax in Whitehouse, affecting how it’s distributed, and it will change how our sales tax collections are reported to the State.
3. What is a sales tax reallocation?
It’s when sales tax money is moved or adjusted from one use to another. It is NOT a tax increase.
4. How will this sales tax reallocation, Proposition A, affect my tax rate?
It will not affect your tax rate or result in a tax increase. In fact, the City of Whitehouse is committed to decreasing the property tax rate, just as they have in the last two annual budgets.
5. How will this affect local businesses?
The aim is to drive economic development, which could benefit local businesses.
6. What is the '4B Corporation' referring to?
The purpose of a “4B Corporation” is to give communities an opportunity to pursue projects that will attract and retain primary employers and improve the quality of life in a small community. They were first established by The Development Corporation Act of 1979 and are authorized through Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 501.
7. What is 'general revenue'?
This is money the City uses for services such as repairing streets, employing fire and police and keeping parks clean.
8. How does Proposition A benefit the City?
By shifting these funds, the city gains more freedom to invest in projects that will improve our community. This could mean attracting new businesses, improving public services, and creating job opportunities.
9. How does this proposition passing affect the impact of government regulations coming out of Austin?
Some state regulations from Austin look closely at how much property taxes a city collects and impose restrictions on cities based on taxes collected and the city's population. These regulations don't consider cities, like Whitehouse, that categorize sales taxes as property taxes. This limits the city's ability to take care of the needs of the citizens. Proposition A will allow the city to avoid burdensome regulations by simply reporting our current processes more transparently.
10. How can I vote?
You can vote during the upcoming November election at designated polling stations around Smith County. (The Whitehouse polling station will be at Whitehouse Methodist Church). See Smith County elections for Early Voting and Election Day Schedules.