Property taxes are out of control and it’s outrageous Austin politicians won’t fix it.
While they pledge to tackle the problem during election season, the truth is they created this crisis. They voted to cut taxes for big corporations and froze education spending when they said the state didn’t have the funds. Then politicians passed the buck to local school districts to make up the difference.
State Representative Dwayne Bohac (R – Houston) now says he wants to bring property tax relief to homeowners, but when he had the opportunity to stand up for taxpayers he instead voted with his fellow establishment politicians to give tax relief to big corporations.
The Texas Tribune reports the Texas Education Agency is forecasting a cut to education spending of “more than $3.5 billion over the next couple of years.” Can Harris County taxpayers really expect anything to change?
Residents in his district need only look at the balance sheets of two local school districts — Spring Branch ISD and Cypress-Fairbanks ISD — which together are home to 85 percent of the district’s constituents to confirm what they already know is true. They are paying more in taxes and getting less from the state.
In Fiscal Year 2016, Spring Branch ISD received $14.2 million in state funding, while local taxpayers paid $277.4 million. By Fiscal Year 2018, state funding decreased to $13.4 million, while local taxpayers’ share increased to $322.2 million. The state’s share dropped by nine percent while the local share went up 16 percent in just three years.
The situation is just as dire in Cy-Fair ISD. In 2015, CFISD received $412.9 million in state funding, while local taxpayers paid $455.6 million. By 2017, state funding decreased to $357.5 million, while local taxpayers’ share ballooned to $536.5 million. The state’s share dropped by 14 percent while the local share went up 18 percent in just three years.
Meanwhile, The Houston Chronicle reports that Spring Branch ISD will be “financially insolvent in three years” unless something changes, while Cy-Fair ISD navigated a $40 million shortfall in its recently passed budget. As property taxes rise, state funding declines and the districts send millions each year back to the state to fund the “Robin Hood” school finance system. This situation is not sustainable.
Dwayne Bohac wants us to believe – a few weeks before the election – he’s finally concerned about skyrocketing local property taxes. We know the truth – he and his fellow politicians in Austin are directly responsible for this problem – because they cut taxes for their big, corporate special interest donors, and pass the state’s revenue shortfalls to local governments.
We can’t be fooled. Taxpayers across Texas are paying more in taxes and getting less, and failed policymakers like Dwayne Bohac are to blame. If we are to fix our state and get the transparency and tax fairness we deserve, we need to Reform Austin.