State Rep. Phil King of Weatherford Applauded For Plan to Help More Texans Realize the American Dream

December 7, 2007

Contact Information:
Peggy Venable, 512-476-5905

State Representative Phil King of Weatherford wants to shift the burden of school funding from the local property tax to the state. The concept is a good one and could save Texas homesteads, according to Americans for Prosperity state director Peggy Venable, as property taxes are an impediment to Texans enjoying the American dream of home ownership.

The need for property tax reform is great. Texas has the 13th highest property taxes in the country and Texans rank 45th in the country in home ownership. Even many retired citizens whose taxes are frozen and own their homes are paying property tax bills equivalent to what their mortgage payments were.

“Our property tax system is rife with inequities,” said Venable. “It is often arbitrary and is taxing unrealized value. A consumption tax is more simple, fair and transparent.”

Shifting education funding from the local property tax to a state consumption tax would also keep school funding equity issues out of the courts.

Even before the current sub prime market problems, Texas foreclosure rates were fourth highest in the country per capita, with 1 in every 549 households in the process of foreclosure in January 2006.

The constitutional amendment passed in 1997 to place a 10% appraisal cap on homesteads has been woefully inadequate in keeping property tax increases in check. Appraisals continue to increase dramatically across the state and tax bills have grown 45% in five years. While political subdivisions have gamed the system, medium home prices grew 31% during that 5 year period and inflation grew only 14.8%.

Using constitutionally dedicating state budget surpluses — beyond the increase in population and inflation – to lowering property taxes would help address escalating property tax bills.

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Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and scope of government is the best safeguard to ensuring individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. AFP educates and engages citizens in support of restraining state and federal government growth, and returning government to its constitutional limits. For more information, visit