Thursday, October 07, 2010

A Statewide Property Tax?

This story in the Austin American-Statesman riveted my attention this evening. It’s about how legislators are going to try (again) to fix the state’s broken way that it raises money for public schools.

Right now, some of the money comes from the state budget. And some of the money comes from local property taxes. And yes, some of the money comes from the state lottery but that revenue has long ago simply reduced the total amount that the state contributes to the pot.

And some of the poorer districts get money from some of the wealthy districts because of the inequitable distribution of wealth across the state. That’s the Robin Hood Law and it is in serious trouble in the courts.

So to make things equitable, legislators are tossing around the notion of proposing a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to collect up to 1 dollar per 100 dollars of assessed value. Local districts they say, could assess up to 20 cents per 100 dollars if they want to.

So that’s a maximum of $1.20 per $100 assessed value. Currently, the limit that school districts can assess is $1.17.

Now the last time that I saw Texans flooding to the polls to vote on a constitutional amendment, in 2005, it was about forbidding any form of gay marriage in Texas. They voted for it in droves.

So it stands to right that when they put this one on the ballot for voter approval, we should see something similar, right?



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