Property Taxes

Principals to be followed:

  1. Texas must not raise taxes on families struggling to pay their bills, or businesses struggling to stay open and provide jobs.
  2. Texas must design a system of taxation that promotes opportunity, strengthens businesses, and supports families.
  3. Texas needs a fair tax system.

Property Tax is Immoral

Personal property is the fundamental basis for freedom. A system of Property Tax makes it so that we never truly own our property.  People need to pay an annual fee for the government to grant you the permission to use your property for one more year. Under a Property tax scheme people are never the owners of property, the Government is, and we are merely tenants, whose right to own property can be taken away by ever increasing property taxes.

Just because on paper your property is worth more, it doesn’t mean you have any more ability to pay tax. The 2019 tax reform provided some relief against unfair increases, but it completely ignored the ongoing harm caused to the disabled, the unemployed and the underemployed and all those living on a fixed income or limited income.

Property Tax is unfair and hurts the most vulnerable in our society.

 Property Tax is Inefficient

Nearly 4,000 separate taxing localities (school districts, counties, cities and special districts) throughout the State of Texas impose property taxes. In each district, each property needs to be valued on an annual basis. It takes an army of appraisers, assessors, board of directors, appraisal review boards, administrators, and staff to accomplish the annual valuation, notices and collection activities at a cost of millions and millions of dollars.

Property Tax is one of the most costly and inefficient means of collecting tax.

Property Tax is Inequitable

Property tax is an inequitable regressive tax. Whether you rent or own your home, property tax increases your housing costs. Property Tax is regressive, because the cost of housing is a larger portion of the monthly budget of low-income households compared to higher earners. Considering that property tax is 100% passed on to renters that have no ownership interest in the property, Property Tax even more disproportionately impacts low income renters who will never participate in benefit of the increase of market value of the home.

Property Tax Causes Rents to Rise

Property taxes are hidden taxes, most often they are part of a monthly mortgage escrow or included within a monthly rental price. The fact that renters are normally unaware of the portion of their rent that is dedicated to taxes does not make this less of an issue for renters. As Property Taxes rise, the cost of the property tax is passed on to the renter in form of an annual rent increase. Landlords who pass through the payment of the property tax as a portion of rent have less incentive to challenge appraisals and keep taxes low as their tenants pay the bill without ever knowing it.

Property Tax leads to Gentrification

Rising home prices result in higher property taxes – that’s how the system works. The more valuable the property, the higher the tax.  Some justify this as a progressive tax scheme in which the “rich” pay more, but the real impact is to drive legacy homeowners away from communities with rapidly increasing property values in favor of investors and speculators. We have seen the same pattern over and over again in each major city in Texas, as historic communities near a downtown core increase in values, long-time residents, often minorities, are pushed out because they can no longer afford the property taxes.

Property Tax Causes Homelessness

The median single family home in Texas is $284,000 but many homeowners who built their houses or purchased them many years ago, bought them for a fraction of the current price. The median cost of a home in Texas in 1970 was $46,000 and the median in 2000 was $82,000.  For the family who bought their home decades ago the skyrocketing property taxes put real pressure on the cost of maintaining the family home even though household income did not rise anywhere close to the rise in property taxes. In many cases, seniors who attempt to hold on to the family home are surviving on greatly reduced fixed incomes, and it is the Property Tax that causes them to need to vacate their family home.

The obscene reality is that every month, month after month, year after year, homeowners who are unable to pay their property taxes are faced with a tax foreclosure. Each year our government forces hundreds of Texas families out of their homes and puts them on the street because of the oppressive burden of property tax. Property Tax foreclosures are an abusive practice and must stop immediately.

What can we do instead?

While there are some who can make a persuasive argument for the elimination of all taxes whatsoever, at the current moment in Texas, the tax system is crucial. The system of taxation we choose to employ impacts each and every person, every household, every business, all the businesses thinking about moving from other states and bringing jobs to Texas, Texas students graduating from schools dreaming about starting careers or becoming entrepreneurs, and retired persons thinking about where and how to invest their life savings.

It is vital, therefore, that our system of taxation reflects and supports our deeper values and highest aspirations for the future of Texas. Our system of taxation should be deliberately designed to promote opportunity, strengthen businesses, support families, and it must reflect a lasting commitment to fairness.

Property Taxes are immoral, inequitable, hidden, cause rents to rise and increase homelessness. Property Taxes have no place in a fair and equitable society.

In contrast, consumption-based taxes are equally applied, visible to the person paying the tax and efficiently collected. Individuals can determine how much or how little tax they pay by regulating their consumption of goods and services. Millionaires and Billionaires who consume the most, will pay the most. The working poor and those on fixed incomes will pay the least. By eliminating the basic necessities of living (food, utilities, housing, health services) from the consumption tax, the tax becomes proportional and non-regressive.

It is estimated that the elimination of Property Tax in Texas and replacement with a consumption tax could increase personal income in Texas by as much as $23 billion and lead to faster economic growth with a net gain of 231,000 jobs over five years. This income and job growth will be critically needed as Texas recovers from the pandemic shutdowns.

If I am elected to Represent District 136 in the Texas Legislature I will work to repeal Property Taxes. The reforms of the 2019 legislative session did not go far enough — we must eliminate Property Tax in Texas. Please support this campaign.