Democratic candidate for Texas Lieutenant Governor Mike Collier is hitting the campaign trail two weeks before early voting in the primary election begins, armed with new material.
Thursday, the Houston-area CPA released his report "The Great Texas Property Tax Swindle."
Collier gathered financial data from the state's 100 largest school districts comparing records from 2010 to 2017 records. He said after making adjustments for inflation, he found district spending per student has decreased, despite rising property taxes.
To give homeowners some relief, Collier said the state needs to give schools more money. To fund that, Collier proposes reversing the Equal and Uniform law that passed in 1997.
"It's just a defect in the law and it allows the owners of large, commercial and industrial properties to underpay their taxes, and they do. And it's a huge number," Collier said. "It was last estimated in 2006 to be costing all of us $4 billion a year. For every dollar they don't pay, is an extra dollar we as homeowners pay. And that's not right."
Collier wants to use the additional revenue that would come from reversing the law to fund public education. And he doesn't believe a change in tax policy for corporations would tarnish Texas' business-friendly reputation.
"You know we haven't always had a property tax crisis," Collier said. "When Democrats were running the operation we did not have a property tax crisis; we had great roads and companies were lining up to invest in the state. So companies will continue to come into the state, and all I'm suggesting is that we enforce the law. To say that we, you know, have to look the other way and let these companies not pay their taxes, otherwise we won't have a booming economy, I absolutely reject that and I come from the corporate world."