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Statewide Property Tax to Fund Public Schools? [POLL]

Kumar Appaiah, Flickr

Everyone seems to be trying to find ways to fund education in Texas. Senator Robert Duncan believes he has found the way to do so, and this week will file his bill. According to reports, Senator Duncan will file a bill this week that would replace local property taxes with a statewide tax. Duncan filed similar legislation in 2011, but expects the issue to get more debate in this go around.

“The bill we filed last time was based on current law at that time,” he said in reference to what was in place two years ago, before the Legislature approved a $5.4 billion funding cut to public education to offset a $27 billion shortfall.

Under the bill Duncan filed last session — which was left pending in committee — the state, instead of local districts, would collect the money and, along with other state funds, distribute it based on school funding formulas.

“You recall last session and in the special session we did change the school finance system to deal with target revenue hold harmless and tried to reduce that concept and that inequity,” Duncan said. “So, the bill that I will file in the next few days will reflect the changes we made in the law last session, but the concept is generally the same: A statewide collection system for property taxes affecting the schools — not for cities and counties — just a school tax and that would be distributed according to the current formula.”

For the idea to happen, Duncan must get two-thirds of all lawmakers to sign on. Then a majority of voters must approve the measure because it would require a constitutional amendment.

So what do you think? Should local property taxes go away and instead have a statewide tax?

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