Property taxes are out of control and it’s outrageous Austin politicians won’t do anything to fix it.
While they pledge to tackle the problem during election season, the truth is the State Legislature created this crisis. They voted to cut taxes for big corporations and said the state didn’t have the funds so they froze education spending. Then they passed the buck to local school districts to make up the difference.
State Senator Don Huffines (R-Dallas) is no different. When Huffines isn’t shouting at school kids, he’s a champion for diverting taxpayer money away from public education to vouchers for private schools.
With more cuts to education funding on the way, Dallas County taxpayers should expect their local taxes to go up even more. 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.”
Residents in Huffines’ district need only look at the balance sheets of three local school districts —Garland ISD, Dallas ISD, and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD. Together, they are home to 70 percent of all his constituents, who are painfully aware they are paying more in taxes and getting less from the state.
In Fiscal Year 2016, Garland ISD received $312.4 million in state funding, while local taxpayers paid $150.1 million. By Fiscal Year 2018, state funding decreased to $295.2 million while local taxpayers’ share surged to $176.7 million. The state’s share dropped 4 percent, while the local share went up 5 percent in two years. The district grew, education costs went up and state funding dropped.
With each new budget, the state funding decreases and local taxpayers’ share increases. In 2014, Dallas ISD received $380.7 million in state funding, while local taxpayers paid $871.2 million. By 2018, state funding decreased to $204.7 million, while local taxpayers’ share skyrocketed to $1.3 billion. The state’s share dropped 46 percent while the local share went up 34 percent in just 4 years.
Meanwhile, Fox 4 News reports Dallas ISD was recently forced to put a $0.13 cent tax increase on the November ballot to close a $449 million budget shortfall.
In 2014, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD received $57 million in state funding, while local taxpayers paid $153.7 million. By 2017, state funding decreased to $39.8 million while local taxpayers’ share ballooned to $210.4 million. The state’s share dropped 11 percent, while the local share went up 10 percent in four years.
Establishment politicians want us to believe – a few weeks before the election – they are finally concerned about skyrocketing local property taxes. We know the truth – it’s the politicians in Austin like Don Huffines who are directly responsible for this problem. They favor their big, corporate special interest donors and pass the state’s revenue shortfall on to local school districts.
We can’t be fooled by more politics as usual. Taxpayers across Texas are paying more in taxes and getting less. If we are to fix our state and get the transparency and tax fairness we deserve, we must demand politicians stand up to their corporate donors and help us Reform Austin.