Unfunded Mandates

It’s no secret that the Texas Legislature has relied on property taxpayers to pay for more and more over the years, but it’s not just the responsibility for funding schools that they’ve pushed down to local property owners.

The Legislature regularly demands that counties enact expensive new policies and programs, known as unfunded mandates, expecting local property taxpayers to pick up the tab. For example, Texas property taxpayers paid more than $265 million for court-appointed criminal lawyers in 2017 with minimal reimbursement from the state, and it will likely cost property taxpayers millions more in 2018.


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Additional Information


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Key Points

  • Texas counties and local property taxpayers face billions of dollars-worth of unfunded mandates from both the state and federal governments.
  • Unfunded mandates drive up property tax bills, remove accountability from state government spending and increase the size and cost of county government.
  • A constitutional amendment prohibiting state unfunded mandates would help protect property taxpayers and prevent financially disruptive circumstances that strain county operations.

Taxpayer protections can be put in the Texas Constitution.

The Texas Legislature can provide safeguards and accountability checks to protect taxpayers by passing a constitutional amendment, empowering Texans to have the ultimate say.

If a proposed constitutional amendment passes the Legislature, voters would have the opportunity to put pay-as-you-go government in the Texas Constitution.

Similar measures have successfully protected taxpayers in other states.


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