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 Matt Shaheen (R-Plano) 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 recently reported the Texas Education Agency is forecasting a cut to education spending of “more than $3.5 billion over the next couple of years.” Can Collin County taxpayers really expect anything to change?
District 66 residents need only look at the balance sheets of two local school districts; Plano ISD and Frisco ISD— which are home to most of Matt Shaheen’s constituents to confirm what they already know is true. They are paying more in taxes and getting less from the state.
The situation is dire in Plano ISD. In 2015, PISD received $39.6 million in state funding, while local taxpayers paid $480.6 million. By 2018, state funding accounted for only eight percent of PISD revenue at $58.2 million, while local taxpayers’ share ballooned to $631.2 million. The state’s share remained flat while the local tax revenue went up 31 percent in just four years. To make matters worse, PISD had to send $208 million back to Austin, as part of the state’s “Robin Hood” school finance system. One-third of PISD’s local property taxes were sent Austin.
Meanwhile, as reported by Community Impact, PISD is struggling to give its teachers needed pay increases. The current system is not sustainable.
For the residents of Frisco ISD, between 2016 and 2017 there was a $24 million dollar decrease in state funding. At the end of fiscal year 2017, local taxpayers were contributing $452 million while the state was only giving the district $117 million. Altogether, local taxpayers were forced to make up 69.3 percent of FISD’s total revenue income, and the state contributed only 18 percent. The trend is only projected to get worse over the next two years. In 2018 the state is estimated to fund only 16.3 percent of FISD’s overall budget, increasing the taxpayer’s share by 14 percent.
Matt Shaheen 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 passed the state’s revenue shortfalls to local governments.
We won’t be fooled. Taxpayers across Texas are paying more in taxes and getting less, and failed policymakers like Matt Shaheen are to blame. If we are to fix our state and get the transparency and tax fairness we deserve, we need to Reform Austin.