Abbott Once Again Says He Wants to Eliminate School Property Taxes

March 21, 2024
Andrew McVeigh
Budget Surplus, Greg Abbott, Property Tax, Spending

Yes, it is possible… And we have a plan to do it. 

Yesterday, at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Texas Policy Summit,  Governor Greg Abbott took the stage to address those in attendance, discussing issues ranging from school choice to government regulations. 

One of the highlights of his address was his statements regarding the state surplus and property taxes. 

Governor Abbott told attendees that it was his intent to continue to cut property taxes “until Texas eliminates school M&O property taxes” completely. 

School M&O property taxes, or “Maintenance and Operations,” are the type of property taxes that pay for the day-to-day operation of a school district. Generally speaking, the School M&O tax is roughly half of the average Texas taxpayer’s total property tax bill.  

After hinting that Texas will probably have a substantial surplus (over-collected taxpayer money) once again, to the tune of billions of dollars, he declared that “surplus money doesn’t belong to the state but to taxpayers.”

Texans for Fiscal for Fiscal Responsibility couldn’t agree more. 

Governor Abbott stated previously in 2022 that he wanted to eliminate school property taxes, and even put the issue on his second special session agenda, but has yet to push the legislature to follow through. Unfortunately, Abbott changed his second special session agenda to fit the property tax legislation that was eventually passed by the Legislature last summer. 

Texans for Fiscal Responsibility believes that the concept of property taxes is immoral and unsustainable for a free society, and even after you pay off the mortgage, property taxes serve as a type of perpetual rent to the government. 

There is a better way to fund local governments and our schools without creating any new taxes.

While some people have been skeptical about the possibility of completely eliminating school property taxes, that goal is not only the right thing to do, it is absolutely achievable. The three main steps include: 

  • Freeze the growth of the State budget, (which saw a record increase last year) and cut wasteful spending, 
  • Freeze School M&O tax rates at their current levels, 
  • And use 90% or more of the State’s surplus tax revenue (which, as stated before, is taxpayer money), and apply it towards School M&O tax rate compression, until the rate is compressed to zero. 

This can be done. The question is, do our politicians in the legislature have the political gumption to achieve it? Or will they continue to fall prey to the lure of big government spending. 

But time is running out for action. New research published by TFR has shown that total property taxes collected across the State have increased roughly 338% over the last 26 years, while the rate of population growth plus inflation only increased 126% during the same timeframe.

Not only that, but despite the Legislature’s property tax relief package, total property taxes across the State still increased by more than 165 million last year. Taxpayers are being crushed.

We need bold leadership to reverse this trend.

TFR has long supported the goal of eliminating property taxes altogether, starting with School maintenance and operations property taxes, and we won’t stop until it is accomplished. We look forward to Governor Abbott rowing in the same direction, so that we can get Texas back on the path to fully restoring private property rights to its citizens. 

Texans for Fiscal Responsibility relies on the support of private donors across the Lone Star State in order to promote fiscal responsibility and pro-taxpayer government in Texas. Please consider supporting our efforts! Thank you!

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