Last updated 6/13/2023 at 5:35pm
Oliver Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, once said the only tax that people like is a tax on someone else. It seems that for many years Texas politicians have been searching for that type of tax, all to no avail. There are so many types of taxes that will furnish adequate funding for Texas government but it seems our Legislature and leadership are about to paint themselves into a corner. Our taxes to support public education in Texas are not only unfair but inadequate to provide a high-quality level of public education for future Texas generations. Even so, our leadership and most of Texas voters apparently continue to ignore the possibilities, or advantages, of reconsidering both of statewide property tax or income tax.
Former lieutenant governor and comptroller, Bob Bullock, once advocated a state income tax and pointed out its advantages but quickly retreated, purely for political reasons and then led the fight to prohibit a future income tax by a constitutional amendment. Since the series of lawsuits in Texas Supreme Court as well as the U.S. Supreme Court, Texas has wrestled with the problem of adequately funding public education in an equitable manner. The current system is grossly out of whack with little hope that it will get better any time in the near future. The reason the current school tax is so unfair is that it is based, primarily on property taxes, district by district. Some districts are able to raise far more money than they need with a minimum tax effort while others charge the maximum the law allows and still have to struggle to keep pace with their needs.
Recently a former Republican Party chair announced that he wanted to abolish property tax. Wonder how he plans to support public education. Once again we see that it’s so easy to promise but not so easy to govern.