Democrats and other big-government apologists are ending 2018 by attacking a key plank of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s 2019 property tax reform plan.

Abbott’s plan would require school districts to get voter approval if property tax burdens are to rise more than 2.5 percent. He first pitched the plan in early 2018, flanked by the state’s lieutenant governor and presumptive House speaker. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has long been a big fan of limiting how much property taxes can rise in a given year.

The governor’s critics claim his plan would “cost” Texas schools “$30 billion over 10 years.” This is how much liberals claim would not be taken from taxpayers’ wallets if voters rejected every request for increased spending.

The word “cost” is important because it doesn’t actually cost the schools anything. It’s like claims that a tax cut “costs” the government money; it doesn’t. A tax cut represents money that is not being taken from families. When you hear school board members and superintendents bandy about a “$30 billion cost” to school districts, understand that number represents how much liberals feel their bureaucracies are entitled to take without voter restraint.

James Quintero of the Texas Public Policy Foundation made that point on Twitter, writing, “It’s erroneous to call the Governor’s plan a ‘cap.’ It’s not a cap. It’s a trigger. A cap would not allow for more [education] funding. This does, with voter approval.”

The 86th session of the Texas Legislature convenes on January 8, with property tax relief and reform expected to take center stage.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, and a dog. Check out his podcast, Reflections on Life and Liberty.

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