Emails, responses to PolitiFact Texas, Christie Garbe, Chief Communications & Planning Officer, Central Health, Austin, Oct. 22 and 23, 2012
Oct. 22, 2012
The slides you inquired about were developed in April of 2012. Central Health staff researched the tax rates by searching online and when they could not locate the tax rate via the web, they contacted representatives from the other districts via phone and email to verify their tax rates.
The seven districts were selected by identifying the 7 largest hospital district populations based upon the Texas State Data Center, Population Estimates Program of 2009.
The slide labeled as slide #4 has the seven comparison District tax rates for 2012 and the Travis proposed tax rate for 2014. This comparison was shown because the Central Health tax ratification election, if successful, will go into effect in tax year 2014. Our tax rate for 2013, which was approved in August 2012, will remain at .0789 as per our recent budget process.
I do not have the approved tax rates for 2013 for the other six districts. Central Health’s 2014 tax rate would remain the lowest, as compared with other Districts, unless Nueces County has lowered its tax rate by more than 3.35 cents, and other District’s lowered their rates even more.
Oct. 22, 2012
As per my prior email this morning, Central Health staff researched the tax rates of 7 other hospital districts using online searches and phone communications to develop the information in the slide you referenced in your email.
To calculate Tax Levy per Capita, Central Health staff divided the tax levy for each district by the District total population based on information from the US Census Bureau estimates for July 2011 (most recent available estimates at the time) which can be found here: http://www.census.gov/popest/data/counties/totals/2011/CO-EST2011-01.html
Again, per my prior email this morning, the comparison of the proposed 2014 Central Health tax rate against the other Districts was based on information available at the time on other District tax rates and the implementation year of the Tax Ratification Election, if successful.
Oct. 23, 2012
I am following up on your question with regard to the per capita tax rate question. According to our CFO, Jeff Knodel, the average home value in our District is significantly higher than in some of the other Districts which is why the projection with regard to our tax rate increase puts Central Health 3rd to last compared with the tax rates we were comparing at the time in the FY12 Hospital District Tax Levy per Capita chart.
Our tax rate is low because:
1. This was the historical tax rate citizens were paying (via the City and County) for healthcare services at the time the District was created.
2. The public hospital is operated by Seton Healthcare Family and some of the financial risk for uncompensated care has been shouldered by them.
3. Our Board of Managers has been fiscally conservative in raising taxes over time
4. Our district has benefited from increasing property values over the course of time
As far as comparing our programs and services provided to the community to other Districts, this remains a difficult comparison. However, if you would like to talk further about this I can see if our President and CEO would be available to discuss this further as I think she is the most knowledgeable staff person on this topic.
Oct. 23, 2012
Generally speaking the healthcare services were for those at approximately 200% of the Federal Poverty Limit and below.
Oh and I meant to mention, the County residents that were outside of the city at the time were paying a significantly lower tax rate, the creation of the District equalized the tax rate between the two resulting in a slight decrease in the rate for city/county residents and a significant increase for county/out of city residents.
I just found the numbers –
City and County—were paying 7.8 cents and County outside of City were paying 1.4 cents---
The initial tax rate that was proposed and approved by the voters was 7.79 cents in 2004