Do you know where all of your raised property tax money goes?

property tax graphic 2-17Do you know where all of your raised property tax money goes to?  

Not public education – a tax cut for businesses or a subsidy to private
schools.  – by Debbie O’Reilly

This year, as you pay your much higher property tax bill, you’re probably wondering where the extra money goes.  Not all of the additional school tax you pay will remain with your school district as you probably assumed. Much of it will go into the state’s public education fund, freeing up state dollars that it can spend elsewhere – not necessarily in education. So your state legislature will use your extra property taxes to reduce the amount it contributes to public education from other sources to benefit its own bottom line and not public education.

This is even more disturbing considering that state spending on each Texas student has dropped $795 per student since 2008, a 19% drop.  But if the state has been raking in an extra $5.4 billion from property taxes over the past two years alone while paying less out per student, where else is the money going?

Just so happens that the state has also given a $2.6 billion tax cut to local businesses, not your public school district as you assumed.

Now consider that the State of Texas wants those extra raised tax dollars to leave the system through vouchers to private schools  that you know nothing about, may not share your values and are in no way accountable through ratings or standardized tests. Conservatives are the first ones to demand local control, but isn’t this a prime example of government overreach denying local control?  Or is it extortion?

Right now, we still have a voice with legislators who feel emboldened to push this through.  Call or write your State Senator or House District Representative. Find his contact information by plugging in your address at http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx.  Make sure you contact your state and not U.S. representative.

First, tell him you do NOT support Senate Bill 3, the voucher bill. The State Senate is trying to push this through and is essentially holding all other meaningful legislation hostage while they focus on vouchers and the bathroom bill.

Second, tell your legislator that they are not transparent when they use funds from property value growth to fund other state priorities and that you expect your tax dollars, paid to your public school district, to remain in public education. You can go to taxparencytexas.org for more information.

Third, if they don’t what we want, 2018 is around the corner. Vote them out.

Remind them that they are OUR representatives.

Debbie OReillyDebbie O’Reilly teaches AP English at Plano Senior High School where she is a 1988 alumna. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Texas Tech University and a Master’s in Literary Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas.  In her free time, she loves volunteering with the Collin County Democratic Party as a Precinct Chair and writer to help turn Collin County blue.  She lives in Allen with her two teenagers.