CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — On Monday night, Gov. Greg Abbott called an immediate special session just hours after lawmakers completed their own legislative session.
However, the night concluded without them passing numerous key bills that state leaders have considered priorities. During Abbott's call to meet, the focus was on property tax relief and border security and human trafficking.
"We must cut property taxes. Texans want and need a path towards eliminating property taxes," Abbott said.
Funding for certain entities, like repairs on roads, school districts, police departments and firefighters, rely heavily on property taxes. However, school districts statewide are the ones impacted the most.
"So, essentially, the school taxes take up about 53% of the property tax bill on average," Kevin Kieschnick, the tax assessor for Nueces County said, "So that’s the area that hits people the most, are the school taxes.”
School districts get most of their funding from local property taxes and the state. If the funding is eliminated altogether, then it could hurt programs for students' and teacher salaries.
“Obviously the school district is dependent on local property tax in order to fund all of our programs and operations and it’s pretty discouraging," Kimberly Moore, West Oso superintendent said.
Even if property taxes are lowered, the money has to come from somewhere to make up for the deficit. The question is why is it so hard for lawmakers to come up with way to lower taxes properly?
“A lot of times, the legislature will put in unfunded mandates where they mandate that they provide a certain service or do a certain thing," Kieschnick said."But they don’t provide the funding to do that. These things get picked up to the property taxpayers."
It seems like a double-edged sword as high property taxes hurt the tax payer’s pockets, but it’s also putting a financial burden on the education system that utilizes this money.
"Trying to find quality, dedicated people that are going to stay as teachers is becoming increasingly challenging," Moore said. "The very least the state could do is to give people a livable wage and provide the funding so that we can.”
For now, legislators are taking a break until Friday. If property taxes are lowered, it’s unclear how much but the hope is to bring relief to Texans and their pockets.