The bills HB2 and SB2, recently introduced in the Texas Legislature, seek to limit local property tax increases to 2.5 percent unless, in a local election, a larger increase is authorized. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

No, it’s a bad idea. Look at the history of public school funding since 2008. 

In 2008, the percentages of total school funding were: local entities, 44.8 percent; state, 44.9 percent; federal, 10.3 percent. The projected percentages in 2019 are local, 52 percent; state, 38 percent; federal, 10 percent. 

Over the last decade, the state has shifted more and more of the total funding responsibility from itself to local taxation. This is the chief reason why your property taxes have increased so much.

Texas ranks in the bottom 10 of the states in funding per student, spending about $2,300 a year less than the national average, according to the National Education Association’s 2018 rankings. 

Thus, total funding as well as the proportion of funding assumed by the state are issues that need to be addressed. 

Texas needs to revise its funding formula to get back to the way it was in 2008 where the dollars provided by the state were equal to those that came from the local school districts. 

And the total dollars should be increased to at least match the national average per student. Several approaches to raise more income for our public schools have been proposed in this article: bettertexasblog.org/2018/04/how-to-boost-funding-to-public-education/

Tighter limits on property tax increases are inappropriate unless included in a bill that also radically increases the state’s contribution to public school funds. I’m notifying Rep. Biedermann and Sen. Campbell to pull their support from HB2 and SB2. I hope others will do the same.

Stephen Baird, 

New Braunfels

 

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