A number of conservative Texas politicians claim taxes are too high in the state. This is especially, they note, in the case of properties. School leaders justify such high taxes as the state is not providing funds for public education as they used to do earlier. To solve this riddle, one must look at the facts. As per the Legislative Budget Board, the state, during 2008 fiscal year, took care of about 48.5 percent of public education expenses. When it comes to the fiscal year of 2019, the state will provide funding to the tune of only 38 percent.
The big question is whether taxes are being raised by the local school districts as the state is not giving funds. If the districts are asked this question, the answer will be in the affirmative. However, it is not the sole reason for the rise of school property taxes. DeEtta Culbertson, the spokesperson for Texas Education Agency, said that state budget has no influence on actual amounts by which the taxable property values goes up or down. The tax rates are also not influenced by the state budget. The value of properties, she pointed out, is determined by the local appraisal districts. The local ISDs then set the rates of taxes based on the local property values.
School districts searching for money frequently looks towards tax revenues from properties if the contribution of the state to public education shows a deficiency. The former makes up the gap for the latter. The state of education funding in Texas is best described by the state's financial history in this regard. The state and also local districts in 2008 contributed approximately $18 billion each towards the K-12 public education funds. In 2017, the share of state funding towards education went up a little- only $19 billion- even though the population of the state was much more compared to 2008. In contrast, funding by local districts rose to about $27 billion. According to Ellen Williams, an attorney and consultant for multiple education associations, the requirement for state aid reduce as tax collections from property goes up.
This issue of comparing local and state funding for the purpose of public education will remain for some time. Democrats like Mike Collier, in the run for the lieutenant governor post, has blamed Legislature for increasing property taxes as state funding for public education is now less. The Republicans say that tax rates for local properties are set by the local elected officials.