How Texas Education Chief Gave $100 Million to Rich Homeowners

Dick Lavine

Recently the Texas Education Commissioner changed the interpretation of a long-standing statue in order to give $100 million to wealthy homeowners in wealthy school districts. KEY TAKEAWAYS: *It’s understandable that school districts have concerns about the underfunding of the Texas public school finance system and want state leaders to make changes. *But a sudden, under-the-radar […]

Are You Ready for Texas Budget Season? An Infographic

Eva DeLuna Castro

If you’re a budget analyst like me, the summer before the Legislature meets is as exciting as watching a rodeo rider get ready for what’s always a wild ride. Even if you’re not a budget analyst, it’s worth paying attention to how and where Texas lawmakers decide to invest the state and federal money that […]

Have Property Taxes Gone Up, Really?

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

Property taxes are the major source of support for local public services – schools, emergency services, roads, parks and libraries. They are also among the most unpopular of all state and local taxes. Many taxpayers complain that their property tax bill can go up, even if their ability to pay that bill does not. So […]

Texas Undocumented Immigrants Pay At Least $1.5 Billion in Taxes

Undocumented immigrants in Texas pay at least $1.5 billion in property, sales, and excise taxes annually, according to the new Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) report. According to the report, “these tax contributions would increase significantly if all undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States were granted a pathway to citizenship as part […]

The Case for a Flat-Dollar Exemption

Dick Lavine

In the 2015 session, legislators considered a promising proposed constitutional amendment to give cities, counties, and other local taxing units the option of lowering property taxes through a flat-dollar homestead exemption. The measure passed the Senate and the House Ways & Means Committee with significant support, but failed to come up for a full House […]

Know Before You Vote: Props 1 and 7

CPPP logo

Early voting begins October 19 for the upcoming statewide elections, where Texans will vote on seven proposed constitutional amendments. CPPP encourages all Texans to learn about the implications of these proposed amendments for the future prosperity of our state. CPPP has a new breakdown of the impacts of Proposition 1, which would increase the homestead exemption […]

10 Days Left

CPPP logo

With 10 days left in the 84th Legislative session, there are still a handful of major decisions pending. Here is a preview of upcoming action we’re watching and some of our work from the past week. What we’re watching: The full Senate should consider HB 1624, a good bill that would help people shopping for […]

Down to the Wire

CPPP logo

Hundreds of bills have run out of time in the Texas Legislature, but a flurry of amendments and maneuvers mean several policy solutions – and some policy nightmares – still have a chance of passing. Here is a preview of upcoming action we’re watching and some of our work from the past week. What we’re […]

The Least-Worst Way to Under-Invest

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

Tax cuts are the wrong priority – Texans would be better served if lawmakers increased investments in public services. However, as I told members of the House Ways & Means Committee late Tuesday night, if lawmakers feel they have to cut taxes, then increasing the school homestead exemption (SB 1/SJR 1 by Sen. Jane Nelson) is […]

Flat-Dollar Homestead Exemption Benefits Homeowners and Municipalities

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

In Texas, school districts grant residential homeowners a flat-dollar-amount homestead exemption of $15,000, but local governments are currently prohibited from doing the same. While they can offer percentage exemptions, the ability to offer flat-dollar-amount homestead exemptions would benefit both homeowners and local taxing entities. At present, more than 800 Texas cities, and more than half […]