Property taxes continue to skyrocket, at great expense to taxpayers and at great gain to Texas’ local governments.
Despite repeated attempts to stifle a growing tax burden, the local property tax “remains the largest tax assessed in Texas” representing nearly half of all Texan tax revenue (47.92% in 2015). Not only is the property tax problem large—draining $52 billion from the economy in 2015—but it’s growing fast, jumping 6.31% in 2015 alone.
Propelling this increase is the rapid growth in local government employment. In the past five years alone, the number of local public employees has grown by 10%, according to Governor Abbott’s new report Bicentennial Blueprint: Framing Our Future. This hiring spree has pushed employment to concerning levels, with local governments employing 1.4 million Texans total, representing more than 1 in 10 people in the labor force.
Source: Texas Governor’s Bicentennial Blueprint: Framing Our Future
The surge in local government employment helps explain why, in comparison to other states, Texas ranks “fourth highest for property tax burden as a percentage of median home value.” For many Texas home and business owners, this policy of excess has led to real world hardship as high and ever-increasing tax bills force them to move or close their doors.
The problem has consistently been recognized, earning the title “largest job killer” by Governor Rick Perry in 2006. Since then the tax has raised by 30%. It is often said everything is bigger in Texas, and that is certainly true for the property tax burden. It is well past time for Texas to take on meaningful property tax reform and protect taxpayers from this fast-moving monster.