Property taxes are out of control and it’s outrageous Austin politicians like State Representative Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) 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.
With more cuts to education funding on the way, Tarrant County taxpayers should expect 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 Stickland’s district need only look at the balance sheets of two local school districts — Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD and Arlington ISD. Together, they are home to 87 percent of all his constituents, who are painfully aware they are paying more in taxes and getting less from the state.
The situation is dire in HEB ISD. In Fiscal Year 2015, Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD received $70.7 million in state funding, while local taxpayers paid $99.1 million. By 2018, the state’s funding decreased to $49.4 million, while local taxpayers’ share increased to $140.3 million. The state’s share dropped by 17 percent while the local share went up by 16 percent in just four years.
Funding problems are equally as bad in Arlington ISD. In 2014, received $264.2 million in state funding, while local taxpayers paid $225.9 million. By 2018, state funding decreased to $197.9 million while local taxpayers’ share ballooned to $285.6 million. The state’s share dropped 13 percent while the local share went up 13 percent in four years.
With each new budget, the state funding decreased and local taxpayers’ share increased. The district grew, education costs went up and state funding dropped.
Establishment politicians like Jonathan Stickland 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 Austin politicians like Jonathan Stickland who are directly responsible for this crisis. They favor their big, corporate special interest donors and pass the state’s revenue shortfall on to local school districts.
We won’t be fooled. 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.