Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (TFR) recently published a new report revealing the abysmal numbers related to property tax levies released by the Texas comptroller’s office.
The major takeaway? The Texas Legislature continues to trumpet their “historic tax reform” package from 2019 (House Bill 3/Senate Bill 2), though the numbers reveal the “historic property tax relief” has instead resulted in historically high property taxes.
According to the comptroller’s data, statewide school district tax revenues rose an astounding 13.74%, special purpose district revenues rose 9.43%, county revenues rose 12.66%, and city revenues rose 9.14%. The total property tax revenue for the state of Texas rose to a historic 12.17%.
This is the highest rise in property taxes since 2001, when property tax revenues rose by 12.4%. For nearly two decades, the Texas Legislature has promised property tax relief and reform, and for two decades, Texans’ property tax bills have continued to climb higher and higher. At what point will taxpayers realize that efforts in the ongoing legislative session will be no different if something different is not tried?
Fortunately, TFR has put forth a solution that would not only lower property taxes, but would also put Texas on a path to eliminate them. TFR believes these reforms would put us on that path:
- Use the entire $32.6 billion surplus to compress school M&O tax rates
- Freeze school M&O tax rates
- Require voter approval for any rate over the “no-new-revenue” tax rate
Additional reforms that are needed include placing spending caps on all local governments, limiting the rate of spending growth to population and inflation, and passing one of the many bills seeking to eliminate school M&O taxes by “buying them down” using budget surplus(es).
It is not too late for lawmakers to change course and give taxpayers lasting relief. If they decide to pass more status quo legislation, like raising homestead exemptions or lowering appraisal caps, taxpayers will get the exact same thing they have for the past two decades—property tax bills that continue to rise, just a little bit slower than they would have otherwise.
We encourage our subscribers who want lower property tax bills to let their lawmakers know they are tired of the status quo and that they demand not only real property tax reform, but also a path to property tax elimination.
For more information on the newest tax levy numbers, you can view our one-pager HERE.
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