Unfunded Mandates

It’s no secret that Texas 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 has been pushed down to local property owners.

The Legislature regularly requires 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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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 by increasing the size and cost of county government.
  • Unfunded mandates remove accountability from state government spending.

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