Ogden's School Finance Proposal

By: Amanda O'Neal
By: Amanda O'Neal

Wednesday was day three of the special session in Austin where legislators are once again trying to over haul the state's school finance system. Wednesday morning Senator Steve Ogden presented a proposal on how to provide some relief to property tax payers.

Lawmakers have until June 1 to come up with a solution or the state supreme court will freeze school funds. Senator Steve Ogden says he's confident something will be done to prevent that.

Ogden has filed Senate Joint Resolution 7 and it was heard by the senate finance committee this morning. He says Texas voters are the ones who should determine how the public school system is funded. He's proposing a constitutional amendment to start the process.

In the resolution is an amendment that would lower the cap on the school district property tax rate from $1.50 to $1.15

Other provisions include limiting the appraisal value increases to 5 percent per year and increasing the homestead exemption to $22,500.

The measure also calls for increasing homestead exemptions for the elderly and disabled.

"If approved by voters it would cut property taxes in Texas by over $5 billion a year. Secondly it would correct a constitutional problem that has us in special session. Third and most important is it would address a complaint that has existed for over 20 years that the problem with public school finance is tat we over rely on school property taxes and under rely on state taxes," said Ogden.

As for ways to make up for the money lost through his proposal, Ogden says he supports Gov. Perry's plan of using some of the state's $8.2 billion surplus and implementation of a business tax.


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