Poll: Texas property taxes too high, education spending too low

By Kimberly James

A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll found that most Texans think property taxes are too high and too little money is spent on public education.

Both topics, public education and property taxes, were key focuses of the 2019 legislative session. Legislators sought to increase education funding and create incentives for school districts to keep property taxes at a modest rate. Property taxes are a primary source of public education funding.

Fifty-four percent of Texas voters said they pay too much in property taxes, according to the poll. Twenty-six percent said they pay about the right amount, and five percent said they pay too little. Along party lines, 45 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of independents and 59 percent of Republicans said they pay too much.

Half of Texas voters said the state spends too little on public education. Twelve percent said it's too high and 21 percent said it's about right. Along party lines, 69 percent of Democrats said spending is too low and 32 percent of Republicans agreed. Another 32 percent of Republicans said spending on public education is just right. Nineteen percent of Republicans said spending is too high.

“The results are slightly more positive on property taxes, stagnant on public education,” Joshua Blank, research director for the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, told the Texas Tribune.

The quality of public education fared a bit better with those polled. Forty-six percent rated it "excellent" or "good," Republicans gave more kudos, with 55 percent rating schools good and 34 percent rating them bad. Forty-one percent of Democrats rated schools good which 47 percent rated them bad.

Fifty-four percent of Texans gave relatively positive ratings to the state's top leaders. Almost half of the voters approved of Gov. Greg Abbott, while 34 percent disapproved. The lieutenant governor was praised by 39 percent and disapproved by 35 percent.

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