Although Texas is viewed as a low tax state, in large part due to its lack of an income tax, many Texans are becoming infuriated with its property tax system. Because the state has no income tax the government has to raise revenue through some other form of taxation. This usually comes in the form of a property or consumption tax.
Texas has both a sales and property tax. The latter is a major point of controversy since most Texans have become infuriated with the rising property tax burden they’ve had to face in recent years.
Many Texans hope that the current special session will resolve their property tax concerns.
Jeramy Kitchen of Texas Scorecard offered a solid overview of Texas’ growing property tax burden:
In February of last year, WalletHub reported that the state of Texas had the seventh-highest property tax burden in the United States, coming in lower than Wisconsin, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Illinois, and New Jersey, where the annual taxes paid on a home priced at the state median value was $3,099.
But Texas’ property tax story did not end there. The Tax Foundation released a report on March 10, 2021 where it showed that Texas is ranked as the state with the sixth-highest property tax rate.
Only states such as Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont have higher property tax burdens than the Lone Star State.
Texas homeowners have every reason to be angry with the government. Kitchen is correct in calling attention to how Republicans have held solid majorities in every important legislative body at the state level over the past few decades. Despite all the chest-pounding made on the campaign trail about low taxes, Texas Republicans have been unable to keep property taxes in check. For example, property tax burdens have risen by 181% in that timeframe. This rate of increase in property taxes has surpassed that of other states.
Governor Greg Abbott has paid lip service to property tax relief before and throughout the current special session but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.
Back in 2019, the Texas Legislature allocated roughly $5.1 billion to the property tax relief fund – a newly established fund. In the budget that was passed in the 2021 legislative session, the state legislature was able to keep the existing amount of funding for property tax relief. However, there’s a catch: Property taxes burdens have maintained their trend upward.
Kitchen was able to get Tim Hardin, the Executive Director of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, on record with regards to property tax reform. This is what Hardin had to say:
Relief is a reduction in property taxes, where reform—which is what I would say they did—is a changing of the system and making improvements. And I would definitely say what they did was an improvement. But as is the case most of the time with the Legislature, it was not what they were instructed to do. They did the bare minimum. They are still allowing cities to raise taxes on homeowners.
Hardin added, “The supposed tax reform we received last legislative session gave no relief to Texans. Capping tax increases simply slows the growth of out-of-control property taxes.”
Although the Texas Republican Party did get a strong message from the grassroots and finally passed Constitutional Carry (a project that has long eluded many Second Amendment advocates), they’re still lagging on issues like property tax reform. Kicking the property tax question further down the road will only allow for the Left to consolidate further power by using those revenues to continue indoctrinating children in public schools and pay off their cronies in public school administration.
Liberty conservatives must take it upon themselves to campaign for reducing property taxes in Texas. They cannot rely on the current political class to do so. It will ultimately take pressure from below for any meaningful reform to take place.
As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.