Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law Tuesday landmark legislation to reform Texas’ long-beleaguered school finance system.
The key provisions of House Bill 3 are increased teacher pay and property tax relief. In addition, the bill put an end to “Robin Hood” payments, which required districts with high property values to send money to the state to redistribute to districts with low property values. The law allocates $4.2 billion for teacher incentives. It provides funding for school districts that move to a merit based pay system and also prioritizes spending on incentives for teachers in high-needs and rural school districts. The lawmakers expect that the bill will decrease school “property tax rates by an average of 8 cents in 2020 and implements a 2.5% property tax cap starting in 2021, which will result in an average tax rate reduction of 13 cents this biennium.”
According to Fiscal Note, the bill will draw $11 billion from the state general revenue-related funds to provide $6.5 billion for new public education, plus $5.1 billion devoted to cutting Texans’ property tax bills.
At the bill signing ceremony, the governor praised the lawmakers for their unity that allowed them to pass the landmark bill.