The Property Tax Cap Craze Collides with Reality in Texas

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Texas State Republican Chairman Tom Pauken recently embarked on a tour of the state to spread the good news: Governor Rick Perry is going to save voters from high property taxes by lowering the state's property tax cap from ten percent to five percent a year. Governor Perry and Chairmon Pauken are putting quite a bit of effort into promoting the proposed lower tax cap, but not everyone is convinced. The House Committee on Local Government Ways & Means conducted a survey on the effects of lowering the cap, only to find that "Appraisal caps unfairly shift the property tax burden from the wealthiest of property owners to the less wealthy."

Worse still, lowering the cap would leave less money avaible for both local and state governments. The effect would be particularly severe in small towns that do not generate much sales tax revenue, and must rely on property taxes to fund local services. The Metropolitan Organization has come up with a better solution: a property tax "circuit breaker". Circuit breakers, which help protect the most vulnerable from high property tax bills without gutting state coffers, are already in place in thirty-five states. Texans should urge Governor Perry to adopt this solution.

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