Funding Schools Without Property Taxes 

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Rep. Oliverson Asks School Finance Commission to Fund Schools Without Property Taxes 

AUSTIN – On Tuesday, August 14th, State Representative Tom Oliverson, MD (R-Cypress) and Representative Jay Dean (R-Longview) added an amendment to SB 16, requiring the school finance commission to study ways to fund school maintenance and operations without using property taxes.

SB 16 would create a commission to recommend improvements to the public school finance system. The legislation is one of the 20 priority items that Governor Abbott put on the call for the special session. The bill authored by Sen. Larry Taylor and sponsored by Rep. Phil King has passed both chambers but is not yet on the Governor’s desk.

Rep. Oliverson’s amendment would require the school finance commission to develop a strategy to pay for the maintenance & operations of schools without property taxes. Rep. Cole Hefner (R-Mount Pleasant) added an amendment that would also prevent the School Finance Commission from considering an income tax as a method of financing. The House voted unanimously to add both amendments to SB 16.

“I believe significant property tax relief can only come by changing the way we pay for public education in this state. We’ve been talking about it for far too long. Now is the time for action,” says Rep. Oliverson

Schools across Texas collect on average around 20-25 billion dollars a year in M&O from property taxes. On average, Texans pay 50% of their property taxes to their local school district. The House and Senate also passed different versions of SB 1, a property tax reform bill that would trigger an election if political subdivisions enacted a tax rate over a certain percent. Different versions of SB 1 have passed both the House and the Senate, but the bill has not yet reached the Governor’s desk.

House District 7 Rep. Jay Dean issued the following statement regarding the School Finance Commission bill, SB 16, and his work with Rep. Oliverson to successfully amend the bill to require the commission to develop a strategy to pay for the maintenance and operations of schools without using property taxes.

” I am proud to have supported measures this special legislative session to make reforms to our property tax system. However, property tax reform is better understood as taxpayer protections, and what my constituents and all Texans are asking for is tax relief. That means from one year to the next, your tax bill actually goes down.

Rep. Oliverson and I have been working together along with a number of stakeholders to tackle this issue, and what is clear is that to achieve meaningful tax relief we need to address the way in which we finance our schools without relying on higher local property taxes.

I was glad we successfully amended SB 16, and look forward to continuing to find solutions during the interim for meaningful tax relief.”


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