State Rep. Matt Rinaldi is renewing his commitment to repeal the state’s dubious and problem-laden “Robin Hood” school finance scheme, filing a bill on the first day possible in anticipation of the upcoming legislative session.
“Taxpayers continue to see their local tax base shipped off to other districts while school districts across Texas continue to spend more with less to show for it,” Rinaldi remarked in the Dallas Morning News’ voter guide.
Under the program, created in 1993, districts classified as “property rich” are required to send large portions of increased tax revenue to the state, which is then presumably forwarded to “property poor” ones. Robin Hood emerged from the ash heap of several failed attempts to pass a constitutional amendment establishing a state property tax for education under Governor Ann Richards.
A recent local example is illustrating where, yet again, so-called “good intentions” have failed to result in productive policy outcomes.
In Houston, voters rejected sending $162 million to the state after Houston ISD fell into Robin Hood quicksand for the first time. If HISD fails to remit payment, they risk having the state assign property in the district to another neighboring district as a penalty.
Unrelated bonds that rely on revenue from those properties add another $31 million to the hit Houston will take should this happen, and the amount sent to the state is expected to balloon to $257 million in fiscal year 2017-18. All of this is taking place in a district with a student poverty rate of 76 percent.
Another side effect of Robin Hood is the adverse impact it’s having on skyrocketing property taxes.
As land values rise, and local districts collect more from taxpayers, the state contributes less to K-12 education. In other words, the burden of education funding has dramatically shifted off of the state and onto property taxpayers, without a significant increase in total funding per student.
Local taxpayers are getting hammered with higher tax bills with no notable increase in education funding.
Rinaldi, a Taxpayer Champion, is a Republican representing House District 115, covering portions of Irving, Coppell, Carrollton, and Farmers Branch.