Private Club Tax Break Hurts Public Services

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Dick Lavine, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities

Wonder why there’s not enough money to pay for public schools or health care?

One reason is that there are too many tax breaks that let special interests shirk paying their fair share of supporting public services.

Here’s one example:  The River Oaks Country Club, an exclusive country club in Houston, saves about $2 million a year by getting its golf course’s market value of  $80 million marked down to a taxable value of only $4.2 million.  In fact, of 26 private clubs in Harris County, 22 take advantage of the “Greenbelt Act” that was originally intended to promote preservation of green space for parks, recreation or scenic uses.

Sen. Rodney Ellis of Houston has filed a bill (SB 1511) to focus the tax break only on land that is available to the public for little or no fee, forcing private clubs to pay their fair share of supporting our schools, police and emergency services.

You can read more here.

At the Center for Public Policy Priorities, we believe in a Texas that offers everyone the chance to compete and succeed in life. We envision a Texas where everyone is healthy, well-educated, and financially secure. We want the best Texas - a proud state that sets the bar nationally by expanding opportunity for all. CPPP is an independent public policy organization that uses data and analysis to advocate for solutions that enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential. We dare Texas to be the best state for hard-working people and their families.

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