The person who heads our government really matters to us due to his/her impact on our own personal lives. Texans know that real power in our state resides in the hands of the Lt. Governor, and Dan Patrick is just not cutting it. Despite Patrick's repeated promises to cut property taxes, our property taxes – earmarked to fund public education – have risen an estimated 26% while our public school funding suffers annual reductions.
It has taken the sleuthing of an expert capable of sniffing out tax structures and their consequences to determine what has gone wrong. And, indeed, as home owners, small business owners, teachers and parents in this state well know, we are in a system that raises our taxes to pay for educational funding even as that funding painfully diminishes.
Mike Collier, former Exxon CFO and longtime partner in the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, has traced out the cumulative effect of three substantive legislative decisions beginning in 1991 that have resulted in a current annual deficit in Texas of $23.4 billion. Collier, a problem solver with a passion for well-funded and effective public education, has offered a clear, if realistically complicated, explanation of our current troubles and the solutions that can lead into enhancing education while reducing our property taxes.
Collier’s first of several priorities as Lt. Governor is to overturn the 1997 “Equal and Uniform” loophole. That legislative act violates the Texas constitution which requires taxation of structures at their appraised rate -- the one we read on our own property tax statements. Due to the loophole, that appraisal formula does not apply to some owners of large industrial properties such as petroleum complexes, industrial complexes, and skyscrapers – to the tune of a $5 billion annual deficit in our tax coffers. The loophole shifts that tax burden onto the backs of those who actually pay their taxes -- you and I.
Mike Collier knows the link between our tax structure, state deficits, and educational funding. He knows the connection between education and individual well-being. He wants the boat to float for all. He is dedicated to improving public school outcomes by investing in pre-K, reducing class size, repealing and replacing high stakes testing with educator-driven methods of accountability, employing more special education teachers, returning to a focus on critical thinking, and protecting teachers – a future made possible by smart, ethical, compassionate funding solutions.