The Most Winnable Legislative Priority Being Ignored By Texas Republican Lawmakers
Property tax reform is all the rage as of late from both the Governor and Lt. Governor’s office in response to one of the legislative priorities put forth by the Republican Party of Texas. But, we must look more closely at what the priority is actually calling for.
“Abolish the Maintenance and Operation School property tax and replace it with a consumption tax or other mechanism other than income tax while broadening the tax base, eliminating the appraisal board and taxing the property at the purchased value or the free market value upon change of hands for local government funding and special district funding. School Maintenance and Operation funds shall be allocated from the state’s general fund to Texas’ Independent School Districts via an inflation-adjusted, per-student-allocation. ”
The intent is clearly property tax relief, not the nuanced words of property tax reform.
The other priorities are as follows:
“Pass constitutional carry while maintaining licensing as optional for reciprocity purposes. ”
“Pass legislation to abolish all forms of taxpayer-funded lobbying and end the automatic payroll deduction of union dues by the government.”
“Pass legislation to abolish abortion; including, but not limited to, enacting legislation that would ignore and refuse to enforce any and all federal statutes, regulations, executive orders, and court rulings, which would deprive an unborn child of the right to life, as well as enacting life-saving legislation such as PreNDA or a ‘heartbeat bill.’ Completely eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and their affiliates and prohibit their physical and digital presence in our schools.”
“Pass legislation prohibiting the violation of the rights and freedoms of individuals, organizations and businesses, to exercise their sincerely held religious beliefs by local ordinances or state laws; and pass legislation that protects the privacy and safety of women and children in multi-use facilities such as bathrooms, locker rooms and showers in all Texas schools and government buildings and oppose legislation that would undermine these privacy and safety protections.”
All of the above are extremely worthy goals. But, only one would deliver net votes across the board regardless of party affiliation. Property Tax relief. The average voter is hearing all about how property tax will be addressed. While most don’t dig into the nuts and bolts, they do hear that part. Should that average voter get their next tax bill and see yet another increase – you have failed at this priority. They will know this, we all will know this. On the other hand, even a modest decrease will be noticed immediately.
The track the legislature is currently on is one of reform. HB 2 & SB 2 are reform, and reform is needed. There are some concerns, that may eventually be fixed. But, currently, no county with a budget under $15M would be included in this reform. In fact, less than half the counties in Texas will be covered in this reform. This legislation does not only not meet the legislative priority at hand, but it leaves rural representatives in a very uncomfortable position of returning home, providing no relief to their rural areas and having to say all they did was help larger Harris County – type counties with relief. And let’s not forget, those rural counties are who delivered wins for the Republican Party of Texas.
Those of us more involved in the working of our State Government can surely appreciate and grasp the rates, rollbacks, triggers and all the bells and whistles being discussed. And, we certainly are still in a fluid position in these bills where much can change. There are good ideas in this bill. We appreciate all the hard work being done on it. However, as a coalition for the Republican Party of Texas on this Legislative Priority, The RLCTX must address this does not meet the priority as of now. Meanwhile, the average homeowner in Texas, is simply looking for a reduction. Currently, relief is non-existent.
In the end, reform is needed, immediate relief is needed more. The message the Texas Legislature should be receiving is relief. It should not be hard to grasp a reduction in property taxes that are tangible and can be seen by property owners when they pay their tax bills will go much further to solidifying that property tax concerns are being addressed. This is one of the most productive outcomes that Republicans can do to show they are listening, and voters will have felt an immediate effect. If they don’t, this is an issue that will cost us more seats in 2020.
Bottom line: We appreciate the work thus far on needed reform, now show us the relief for all Texans, rural and urban.