For the First Time, City Will Lobby Legislature on School Funding Issues

The City of San Antonio is a major lobbying presence at the US Capitol and in the Texas Legislature, lobbying for everything for more money for police to improved air service, but now the City will be taking up a new lobbying issue, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

For the first time, the City will be working with the Superintendents of all of the local public school districts to lobby state lawmakers to restore state funding for schools.

The reason, Mayor Nirenberg says, is that homeowners and businesses routinely blame the City for their rising property taxes, while, in reality, the main reason property taxes are rising is that the state over the past several years as cut education funding from as much as half of the total public school budge to as little as 35%.

"It is the unspoken truth that until the Legislature gets serious about tackling the issue of school finance, we won't begin to address the concerns that they have about property tax," Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.

He cited the fact that a measure in the Legislature in the 2017 to restrict local property tax increases repeatedly blasted City and Council governments for 'overspending,' when in reality, education funding consultant David Thompson told City Council that the culprit is lower state funding for schools.

Thompson says the problem is particularly serious in times like these, when home values are rising rapidly.  He says the number one question he is asked by taxpayers is why the ever increasing taxes homeowners pay never seem to be enough.

"Every year my taxes go up, and every time I turn around the schools are complaining about funding," Thompson quoted taxpayers as telling him.  "Where is the disconnect."

For the last several sessions, state lawmakers have managed to hold down state tax increases largely by pushing a greater and greater cost of running public schools, especially with the state's growing student population, onto local property taxpayers.

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