will introduce legislation in coming session
A Hill Country lawmaker wants to abolish the Texas property tax.
State Rep. Harvey Hilderbrann (R-Kerrville) tells 1200 WOAI news that he will introduce a measure in the upcoming legislative session to begin the process of abolishing residential and commercial property taxes, which are the largest income generator for local governments and schools.
Hilderbrann chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, which is the key committee in dealing with tax issues and tax reform.
"There is no way we are going to abolish property taxes overnight," Hilderbrann told 1200 WOAI news. "It would be a long term project. We need to first reduce the growth in property tax revenues being used for schools."
So far there is no proposal to replace the property tax, which provides a majority of revenue for school districts, and about 40% of the revenue to local governments. It also accounts for up to 100% of the revenue for agencies like hospital and water districts.
"You have such a large amount of revenue that you have to replace, certainly not over a short period of time, and probably not over a long period of time," Hilderbrann said.
But he said that is no reason not to start discussing alternatives to property taxes, which he says are the biggest barriers to economic growth.
Tea Party groups oppose property taxes, saying they turn people into 'squatters in their own homes' due to the need to pay the government.
Texas has no state income tax, so the property tax looms even larger in revenue projections. There is a proposal on the table to double the state's portion of the sales tax, which is now about 6.25%, to replace the revenue lost by abolishing property taxes.
"If you were just to do away with school property taxes, you would have to replace it with something that would generate billions and billions of dollars," Hilderbrann said.
North Dakota voters on Tuesday rejected a proposal to abolish property taxes here, in a campaign which was driven by opposition from public employee unions.