The Texas Municipal League today issued a baseless attack against a Senate Interim committee on property tax relief, claiming the committee is misleading Texans.

“The senate committee has been traveling around the state using real statistics to make an illogical, misleading comparison,” said TML’s Executive Director Bennett Sandlin.

The group is referencing the data used by the committee to show that in a nine year period from 2005-2014 the amount of city property tax levied statewide increased 60 percent compared to the menial 26 percent increase in median household income in the same time period. The data, obtained from the Comptroller’s office, is meant to show the alarming rate at which property tax increases are outpacing the average Texan’s income increases.

A graphic released by State Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) shows how much faster property taxes are rising than the ability of Texans to pay them:


Texas has the sixth-highest property tax burden in the nation. A poll conducted by the University of Texas last year found that more than half of Texans are upset with property taxes.

TML, as is their nature, defended the increase in taxes collected by cities saying, “Cities collect 16 percent of the property taxes paid by Texans while 55 percent goes to school districts.” They point to the fact that cities aren’t collecting as high percentages as school districts as a positive, but that doesn’t mean that Texans aren’t paying too much in property tax to cities. As taxes have increased cities continued to increase spending while still taking on more debt.

Saying that cities collect a significantly lower amount is no consolation when they aren’t efficiently utilizing what they do collect from their taxpayers.

TML is a third-party anti-taxpayer voluntary association whose sole purpose is to push legislation allowing cities to tax and spend more. They exist to protect government interests instead of securing the liberties and rights of Texans. One of their own guiding principles is to resist any effort to “diminish [city] revenue.”

In other words, any reform that would ease the tax burden on Texans is sure to be opposed by TML.

TML puts the interests of government ahead of the interests of Texans and it’s a safe to assume that if they are opposing a reform, it’s something taxpayers should support.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.