Sick of sky-high property tax bills? So is Governor Abbott.
Speaking at a news conference last month, the governor captured the frustration well:
“Texans are fed up with property taxes being raised with impunity. They are tired of endless government spending while honest, hard-working people struggle just to keep up with paying their tax bills. We can no longer sit idly by while homeowners are reduced to tenants of their very own property with taxing authorities playing the role of landlord.”
And there’s good reason for Texans to feel this way.
As Think Local Liberty’s James Quintero wrote in the Austin American-Statesman recently:
Since 1997, property taxes levied statewide have grown by roughly 200 percent. By comparison, inflation increased by a little less than 50 percent — and the population grew by only 40 percent. That’s a big delta between how fast taxes are growing and how fast taxes should be growing.
To attack the problem, the governor is putting his weight behind a package of proposals that has some distinct components. First, a trigger that would allow Texans to vote on tax increases of greater than 2.5 percent by local taxing entities in a given year. Second, safeguards against local governments in accruing further debt, a driver in higher property taxes. Specifically, this prong would be accomplished through greater voter information and involvement, and tighter restrictions on nonvoter-approved debt instruments, like certificates of obligation. And finally, changes to make the appraisal process fairer.
If enacted, Governor Abbott’s proposal would bring welcome relief to Texans who have been saddled with an oppressive tax system driven by too much local government spending.