April 16, 2019
The following is a statement from Sen. Watson regarding the passage of Senate Bill 2:
There’s no question the Legislature must take action to address rapidly rising property taxes, but Senate Bill 2 won’t do it.
The legislation that could provide true property tax relief — House Bill 3 — is being held hostage to secure passage of this legislation, which only creates the appearance of property tax relief. In fact, the illusion of property tax relief was deemed so essential that the possibility of the “nuclear option” was invoked.
We all know that the biggest culprit in rising property taxes is the Legislature.
As property values go up, the Legislature’s responsibility for public school funding goes down. Over the past six years, the growth in property values across the state has generated an additional $10 billion in local property tax revenue, which has freed up the same amount in state dollars to be spent according to the will of the Legislature.
Those state dollars could have been invested in lowering school tax rates or increasing the homestead exemption — if controlling property taxes had been the priority.
But those in control of the Capitol didn’t make it priority. They had other priorities, such as decreasing the so-called margins tax, which was created as a revenue stream to reduce property taxes.
Instead, someone else must be blamed. People say some other entity is doing this to us. Well, you can’t be both the victim and the perpetrator.
While SB 2 takes aim at local governments, we all know that it was the Legislature’s willful neglect that created this crisis. And SB 2 won’t fix it.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Kate Alexander, Office of Senator Kirk Watson: (512) 463-0114