In a live-streamed interview with the Texas Tribune on Wednesday, Reps. Matt Schaefer (R), Drew Darby (R), and Carol Alvarado (D) discussed the issues of the special session. One of the hot topics of course is the governor’s desire to reform the property tax system.
The Lt. Governor, who leads the Senate, and House conservatives want to see actual cuts to the tax. The Republican Party platform even calls for its complete abolishment. Short of that, they at least want to require automatic roll-back elections when taxes increase beyond a certain point.
This would give the taxpayer a greater voice in the finances of local government.
But Reps. Alvarado and Darby don’t see that as a good thing. Darby made his position plain, saying, “I am opposed to lowering the roll-back rate.”
Property taxes are collected locally by school districts, municipalities, counties, and special-purpose districts, and the greatest portion is virtually always paid to the schools.
Democrats and moderate Republicans like Darby who control the Texas House are pushing the narrative that property tax cuts, or even roll-back elections, would increase the financial burden on localities and would therefore undermine local control.
But Schaefer, who chairs the Texas Freedom Caucus in the House, argued that nothing is more local than the taxpayer.
“Local control at the citizen level, at the taxpayer level, that is the maximum local control you can have. When local governments begin to act in a way that constrains personal and economic liberties, then the state as the sovereign needs to step in and restore that freedom to the individual.”
This is the debate we will continue to see over the next 3 weeks.
Do the financial burdens of local government give those entities the right to tax as needed?
Or do local taxpayers have an ultimate right to restrain them by vote?
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