Last week, the TTARA Research Foundation released a study comparing what Texans actually paid in property taxes last year versus what they would have paid had the 79th Texas Legislature not passed the 2006 property tax reforms.

Texans may not know it, but they have actually seen a net savings of $7 billion in school property taxes. By using surplus funds and creating new dedicated revenue sources, the legislature has been able to deliver “meaningful” school property tax relief to taxpayers across the state. So why don’t they know it?

As the report notes, Texans “pay a myriad of property taxes that are typically combined into a single bill.” So even though the legislature may have been successful at limiting the growth of school property taxes, nothing was done to address the growth of city, county, or special district property taxes. Add to that inflated property appraisals, the creation of new taxes, and voter approved tax hikes, and away goes your property tax relief.

Rather than continuing to patch a broken system, the Texas Legislature would be wise to eliminate the property tax altogether in favor of a broad-based consumption tax. That may be the only way that taxpayers would finally see true “tax relief.”

– Talmadge Heflin