Yesterday, the Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform released a shocking new chart showing property tax levy growth over the last ten years. It helps explain why Texans have become so fed up with property taxes.
Source: Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform, Houston Hearing
The largest growth, as shown in this chart, is on account of special purpose districts. Over a ten-year time horizon, special district levies grew as much as 102 percent. In a single year, from 2015 to 2016, the total amount of special district levies increase of $1,077,270,442. The other areas of property taxes are not rising at as dramatic a speed, but they have consistently risen each year over a 10 year period at a rate much faster than taxpayers can afford.
Any attempt to validate these statistics with explanations of mere growth fall flat. As the Foundation has said in the past, taxes are growing well in excess of anything reasonable. For example: “From 2000 to 2015, population and inflation increased by a combined 82 percent. In contrast, property taxes levied statewide soared by 132 percent over the same period, pummeling homeowners and businesses in the process.”
Such a surge in taxation is better explained not by growth but by glut. More specifically, an abundance of wasteful projects, unnecessary hiring expenditures, and generally bad budgetary habits, like using current services budgeting instead of zero-based budgeting.