The Texas Constitution declares the mission of our public education system is “to ensure that all Texas children have access to a quality education that enables them to achieve their potential and fully participate now and in the future in the social, economic, and educational opportunities of our state and nation.” Texans of all backgrounds value public education and strive to unlock its promises of opportunity and shared prosperity. But our current school finance system prioritizes property tax cuts over public education.
HB 3, the 2019 school finance and property tax cut bill, made an ongoing financial commitment to property tax cuts, without a similar promise to the children of Texas to maintain or improve school funding. Tax “compression” (rate cuts) cost the state $1.1 billion for the 2022-23 biennium. The base House and Senate budgets for 2024-25 estimate HB 3 compression to cost $3.118 billion for the biennium and includes another $2.156 to bring rates down further.
The budget is a declaration of values, and the base budget introduced by both chambers of the Legislature clearly prioritizes tax cuts over investments in the children of Texas. In addition to the $5.274 billion for tax compression, both Chamber’s versions of the budget include an additional $9.726 billion to cut school property tax collections in various ways. For a total of $15 billion in tax cuts. While both base budgets included a statement of intent to increase school funding, neither appropriated any funds.