Property taxes are out of control and it’s outrageous Austin politicians won’t fix it.
While politicians 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 they passed the buck to local school districts to make up the difference.
State Senator Joan Huffman (R – Houston) now says she wants to bring property tax relief to homeowners but when she had the opportunity to stand up for taxpayers, she instead voted with her 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?
Houston area residents only look at the balance sheets of three local districts – Brazosport ISD, Fort Bend ISD, and Houston ISD – which together are home to over 60 percent of Joan Huffman’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 2015, Brazosport ISD received $22.3 million in state funding, while, local taxpayers paid $81.6 million. The following year, the state dropped to $11.7 million, while local taxpayers share increased to $95.4 million.
The situation is just as dire in Fort Bend ISD. In 2015, FBISD received $235.9 million in state funding, while local taxpayers paid $333.2 million. By 2017, state funding dropped to $218.6 million, while local taxpayers’ share ballooned to $392.1 million.
Meanwhile, as reported by ABC 13, Houston ISD pays hundreds of millions of dollars into the “Robin Hood” system and was able to pay for La Joya ISD to build a water park, planetarium, and natatorium. While La Joya ISD receives about 75 percent of school funding from the state, Houston ISD only receives 35 percent with the rest of the burden falling onto taxpayers.
In 2015, Houston ISD received $259 million in state funding and $1.5 billion in local funding. In 2016, HISD received $156 million in state funding and $1.6 billion in local taxpayers. In 2018, HISD received $215.1 million in state funding, while local funding continues to balloon to $1.7 billion. This increase in state funding doesn’t increase HISD’s revenue since all, if not most, of it is returned to the state due to recapture.
Joan Huffman wants us to believe – a few weeks before the election – she’s finally concerned about skyrocketing local property taxes. We know the truth – Huffman and her 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 government.
We can’t be fooled. Taxpayers across Texas are paying more in taxes and getting less, and failed policymakers like Joan Huffman are to blame. If we are to fix our state and get the transparency and tax fairness we deserve, we need to Reform Austin.