Why are my property taxes so high?

Taxparency: the condition of being transparent with respect to taxpayer dollars.

Many folks in our neighborhood are being pushed out of their homes due to high property taxes. One reason why we pay so much in property taxes is because of the way the state recaptures our local school property taxes and then, instead of spending them on education, keeps them and uses the money for other things. AISD is paying the state $406 million dollars this year in recapture payments, the most by far of any school district in the entire state. One third of our annual local taxes raised to operate Austin ISD are actually diverted to recapture payments. Not only are our local dollars not going toward AISD, but they aren’t even going toward education anywhere even though they are earmarked for that use. For more information, visit this new info-packed website: www.taxparencytexas.org. This site was launched by the Plano ISD school board, with whom AISD is collaborating to educate folks on this complicated issue.

Why is Taxparency an Issue?

Texas taxpayers are not aware that public school districts get very little, if any, additional operating revenue when property values rise. At the same time, according to the outgoing chairman of the Texas House’s Public Education Committee, the Legislature is spending more than $2 billion a year that should have gone to public education on other programs and services in the state budget.

Over time, the state has spent less and less on education, relying more on our ever-increasing local taxes. The state’s share of public education spending has dropped greatly over the past decade; Texas is spending about $339 per student less this year than it did in 2008, according to the Legislative Budget Board. Local spending rose $990 per student over the same period.

See also this Politfact article, which confirms that the average Austin taxpayer could save $1,355 a year if AISD did not have to pay recapture money to the state.

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