Texas’ local governments provide a wide range of services supported primarily by local property and sales taxes. Across the state, pre-K-12 education is usually the primary area of local spending because of our state’s relatively young, school-age population.
When Texas leaders boast about how our state is growing, they should remember that the cost of providing services is also rising. Cutting local governments’ ability to meet the needs of their residents is illogical, especially with the unpredictability of state and federal funding.
Texas has about 5,300 local governments, including almost 1,500 general-purpose city or county governments and 1,022 school districts. School districts usually receive state and federal aid to support their provision of public education to 5.4 million children, but cities and counties pay for fire and public safety, streets, parks, libraries, courts, and other essential services almost entirely with locally raised revenue.
Texans need more sustainable sources of revenue for our schools, hospitals, parks, libraries, public safety professionals and more. Tying the hands of cities and counties won’t make the needs of Texans disappear.
When Texans vote locally for city, county, and other local officials, we are choosing by extension how much to pay for schools, public safety and other services. If voters disagree with the decisions of our local elected officials, they can choose to vote them out in the next election. Lawmakers should trust Texans to make the best decisions for our own communities.