Taking a break
Making the most of open season

Property tax battle brewing in Texas

House_proptax2 Complaints about property taxes are nothing new. I've whined myself about our annual bill, although I must admit that this year it's a little less painful.

The crying this time, though, is not by the usual irked homeowner fighting a real estate assessment.

It's a Central Texas school district that is refusing to pay its portion of property taxes to the state in order to help fund other school systems.

Dubbed "Robin Hood" by critics, the 1993 law requires districts that have high property values relative to their student populations to share some of their local tax money with districts that have lower values per student.

That just isn't sitting well with the folks in Wimberley, a small, property-rich community south of Austin.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, "The Wimberley school district has flatly refused to remit $3.2 million in property tax revenue due to the state, saying the amount is 'excessive and in violation of state law and constitutional provisions.'"

Objections to the law are not new. Other districts have gone to court over it. But in this case, Wimberley school trustees say they need the money more than less wealthy school systems.

Wimberley officials told the newspaper that they "struggled to find room in their budget this year for repairs to district buildings and education supplies before deciding to withhold the school finance payment."

You can read the full story here (free registration required) and see the official Wimberley resolution refusing to pay by clicking here.

Steamed about your property taxes? As mentioned in this previous blog, the Tax Foundation compiles data that can help you see if your complaining  is warranted when you compare your bill to property tax payers in other jurisdictions. Click here for a look at 2006 property taxes on owner occupied housing by U.S. county.


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As I understand it (in this earlier blog post: http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/dont_mess_with_taxes/2006/05/the_fifth_times.html), Robin Hood remains; it just is no longer funded completely by property taxes, which was the problem because, school districts argued, they had to set the highest possible rate to meet their needs and the shared fund amount, too. When other taxes were added (e.g., the new business tax), school districts across the state dropped their tax rate. Of course, in a few years, they'll all be at the top again and I'm sure we'll start this battle once again.


Ha! I think I need my property tax money more than my local school district does, too. I think I'll refuse to pay and take 'em to court. Thanks for the idea!

Seriously, I'd be opposed to the measure too. But laws are laws. I don't even have kids and I pay ridiculous property taxes in Dallas. So be it. At least we have no state income tax. Yee-haw!


I thought Robin Hood was ruled unconstitutional a few years back and is the reason why Perry had to call 3 special sessions one summer. I thought that is why we have the high taxes on tobacco and the state wide property tax code.

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