Some political promises are predictable…and worthless. Gov. Greg Abbott’s vow, during last weekend’s debate, to provide “relief” for property taxpayers was predictable. It was just as predictable as the fact that he won’t provide a cent of real relief if he is reelected to another term.
Lupe Valdez, the governor’s Democratic opponent, correctly pointed out during the debate that you can’t address the problem of high property taxes without increasing state funding for public schools, which Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and their legislative allies repeatedly have refused to do. And if they are reelected in November, they will continue to profess concern for high property taxes while continuing to under-fund public education.
Texas schools have two main sources of funding – state revenue and local property taxes – and, as I have noted before, the state’s share has been steadily declining under Abbott’s watch. The state’s share of the Foundation School Program is expected to hit a low of 38 percent during this school year, with local property taxpayers paying 62 percent.
If the governor really wanted to provide relief to local taxpayers, he would have demanded that the Legislature increase its share of education funding, but he never has. Just last year, he joined with Patrick to slam the door on a bill approved by the Texas House that would have increased state education funding by $1.9 billion during the current budget period.
Instead, Abbott and Patrick support a phony form of tax “relief” that would put arbitrary restrictions on the ability of local elected officials, including city councils, to raise the revenue their constituents need for essential public services. Those efforts so far have failed, but they will continue if Abbott and Patrick are reelected. Both will continue to pretend to hate the high property taxes that they love to see you have to pay.