Statement from TASB Spokesperson Dax González on Property Tax Reform Proposal Announced by Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Speaker Dennis Bonnen

For release: January 31, 2019
Contact: Dax Gonzalez, 512.789.4824, dax.gonzalez@tasb.org
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Texas school board members want to lower property taxes; they’ve wanted to lower taxes for years.

Unfortunately, Texas legislators have not found a sustainable revenue source outside of property taxes to support the 5.4 million students in Texas public schools. The state has left it to school districts to raise necessary funds locally, and now the state is relying on local property taxes to pay for more than 60 percent of public school funding.

We’ve seen this story before—back in 2005 when the Legislature arbitrarily reduced and capped school property tax rates but was unable to maintain their commitment to our students in 2011 leading to a massive $5.4 billion cut to public schools.

Because more than 400 school districts are already taxing at the maximum rate allowed by the state, capping property tax revenue without identifying additional, consistent sources of funding could be devastating to Texas students.

The Legislature’s willingness to infuse up to $9 billion for public education is welcome relief, but this kind of investment needs to be ongoing and not a one-time boost.

The state’s declining support for public education coupled with its penchant for piling unfunded mandates upon local school districts is a crippling trend. TASB and Texas school trustees look forward to working with legislators to reduce the state’s reliance on local property taxes and to identify dependable, sustainable sources of revenue for our schools. Both steps are necessary for the future of our state.

TASB is a nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local public school boards. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve about 5.4 million students.