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Lone Star Project Report

Report Confirms: Cuts in State Support for TX School Kids Causes Local Property Taxes to Skyrocket

Texas kids and local homeowners pay the price for one-party Republican control.
Over recent years, virtually all Democrats, but also some Republican officials like Tarrant Judge Glen Whitely, have made the case that the failure of Austin leaders to adequately fund public schools is driving up local property taxes.  Following the release of a recent state study, it’s no longer a matter of political debate or finger-pointing.
 
An official report prepared for the Texas Legislative Budget Board (LBB) demonstrates that over the past decade, cuts in state spending for our children’s schools has caused local property taxes to go up.  The report’s findings confirm that Dan Patrick, Greg Abbott and other state leaders – all Republicans since 2003 – have abandoned their constitutional responsibility to assure quality education for Texas kids and shifted it onto the backs of local businesses and homeowners.
 
The Texas Tribune detailed the report’s findings in a news report yesterday.  The coverage includes a chart that tracks what local, state and federal taxpayers have been contributing to public education in Texas over the past decade.  The chart shows that while the raw total of education spending has risen, it has failed to keep pace with inflation and a dramatic increase in student enrollment. Meanwhile, inadequate state funding has forced local property taxpayers to pay $10 billion more in school taxes, and that has still failed to cover the cost of education, as per pupil funding has dropped dramatically over the past decade.  
 
Here are the key points:
  • Funding Per Student Falling – Funding, from ALL sources, in constant dollars (adjusted for inflation and population) is $619 LESS per student than in 2010.  School funding has dropped by $2.76 billion (in constant dollars) while school enrollment has increased by almost 700,000 students.
  • State Share Dropping/Local Share Rising – The state’s share of public education funding – from all sources (state, local and federal) has dropped to only 35 percent of the total projected for the 2019 budget while local taxpayers pay 55.5 percent (up from 46.1 percent in 2010) of the bill and 9.5 percent comes from the federal government.
  • Don’t Blame the Feds – State policy only impacts state and local funding, and not the federal share. When the federal share is not included in the calculations, the state share of education funding has dropped from 48.5% a decade ago to a projected 38 percent in the 2019 fiscal year,forcing local property taxpayers to pick up 62% of the tab.

Bottom Line 

 

From Greg Abbott to Dan Patrick to Konni Burton, Texas Republicans are lyinto voters with election-eve rhetoric that they have increasededucation funding. 

 

However, an official state reported exposes their big lie.  Essentially, these Republican leaders in Austin have cut stateeducation funding and forced local officials to raise local taxes or shortchange our children’s neighborhood public schools.