This week, the Defend Texas Liberty PAC released polling that suggested a majority of Texans, from both major political parties, support using a majority of the projected budget surplus to lower their property tax burdens.
Among several other questions, respondents were asked:
“When the Texas Legislature returns to Austin, they will have an estimated $27 billion surplus. Do you believe the majority of that surplus should be used to lower property taxes?”
Of those polled, 66% responded yes, 15% responded no, and the remaining 19% were unsure.
Broken down by political party affiliation, 78% of Republicans and 44% of Democrat respondents said yes, compared to the 6% and 32% that responded no, respectively.
What Does It All Mean?
In mid-July, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced an additional revision to his projected budget surplus before state lawmakers convene in January of 2023. He projected that lawmakers would have a budget surplus of nearly $27 billion to potentially allocate as they consider the next biennial state budget.
Earlier this month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott forecasted the biggest property tax cut in Texas history would come in the upcoming legislative session, though he did not give any specific details. Upon Hegar’s announcement, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick indicated that he supported using $4 billion of the projected $27 billion surplus for the purpose of additional property tax relief.
The Austin political class is already making plans on how to allocate the projected surplus, but many of those plans do not include using a significant portion, if any, of the surplus to provide property tax relief or put Texas on a path toward property tax elimination.
In March, Republican primary voters overwhelmingly supported eliminating the property tax altogether. A few months later, the Republican Party of Texas adopted a plank in their platform that supports eliminating the property tax, as well. The plank reads as follows:
Plank 90. Axe the Property Tax: We support replacing the property tax system for businesses and individuals with an alternative other than the income tax and requiring voter approval to increase the overall tax burden. We urge the Legislature to immediately develop a transition plan that is a net tax cut.
With the projected surplus, lawmakers have the opportunity to provide true relief to Texas taxpayers reeling from ever-increasing property tax burdens, historic inflation, and a growing cost of living. They could simultaneously put Texas on a path toward property tax elimination and allow Texans to actually own the property they reside on without paying perpetual rent to the government.
What Is Next?
Republicans have controlled the Texas Legislature and every statewide elected office for nearly two decades, and the track record of these same elected officials with regard to consideration of their own party’s platform has been spotty at best.
The next legislative session is set to begin in January of 2023. Your elected officials need to hear from you.
How can you help? Go read the Texas Prosperity Plan for yourself and voice your support for banning taxpayer-funded lobbying, eliminating the property tax, and freezing state spending by signing up to support the TPP. Sign up for The Fiscal Note to stay up to date on all fiscal issues that affect Texans, especially our broken property tax system. We CAN put Texas on a path to fiscal sanity and future prosperity if we amplify our voices loud enough.