Though this is not a new development it warrants repeating that Rep. Phil King of Weatherford is working to reform the Texas property tax juggernaut. The Weatherford Democrat reports that King’s legislative efforts in the upcoming session will be geared primarily towards lowering property taxes.

King equates Texas’ current property tax system to the nations sub-prime crisis saying that, “the price is too great to bear.”

King hopes to enact reform by moving the state towards a more equitable school funding mechanism. Currently Texas’ schools are funded heavily with property tax dollars something King suggests could be replaced by a more broad based consumption tax.

If you are a Texas homeowner efforts to ease the burden of property taxes during the 81st session to the tune of $14 billion in tax cuts may have gone unnoticed. That’s because these cuts were negated by local governments increasing their taxes with boosts to appraisal valuations.

This inter-governmental finger pointing distorts perception of reality, throwing taxpayers off the trails of politicians who are solely interested in growing government. With the adoption of a consumption tax the complexity of tracking just who is to blame for excessive taxation would to a great extent be eliminated.

Currently 18 percent of the average annual mortgage payment goes towards paying property taxes. That is a number that keeps Texans from owning homes as King points in an editorial on Texas property taxes published November 11, 2008.

“Who we’re pushing out of the housing market are lower-income families and young families, making it more and more difficult for them to buy their first starter home,” he said. “A property tax system is the only tax with no relationship to your ability to pay it. And that’s one of the reasons it just doesn’t work.”

Transferring the burden of funding schools from a property tax to a consumer tax is an attainable and worthy endeavor that will strengthen our economy by placing the burden of funding education on those that can afford it.

Daniel Greer

Daniel Greer is the Director of Innovation for Texas Scorecard.