UT Tyler Office of Marketing and Communications

UT Tyler Releases Results of Property Tax Poll

October 1, 2019

Media Contact: Beverley Golden
Senior Director of Media Relations
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler

The University of Texas at Tyler Center for Opinion Research announced today results of a survey on property taxes.

Because of Senate Bill 2, which goes into effect Sept. 1, 2020, local property tax payments may not increase by more than 3.5 percent each year. The new state law is intended to keep payments lower for homeowners; however, the new law will also require local governments that rely on property tax revenues to consider other ways of obtaining revenue to provide services to growing populations.

This recent UT Tyler poll offers details about how the public feels about property tax rates increasing as they have in the past, despite this new law, as well as the solutions the public is most likely to favor.

Texans believe it is unfair to raise property taxes more than 4 percent this year
• On the question, "Is it fair for a municipality to raise property revenues between 4 and 8 percent?" voters responded that it is unfair (62.9 percent).
o In the Dallas metroplex, 58.3 percent believe the situation to be unfair. The numbers in East Texas are similar at 59.2 percent and higher in the Houston metroplex at 67.4 percent responding that a larger property tax increase this year would be unfair.

Weighted Dallas Houston East Texas
Fair 5.1% 8.9% 5.0% 3.3%
Somewhat Fair 11.5 13.2 10.9 12.4
No Opinion 20.5 19.6 16.8 25.1
Somewhat Unfair 25.0 26.3 22.8 24.4
Unfair 37.9 32.0 44.6 34.8
Total = 2,127 510 540 388

• When voters were presented with an example of how much a property tax payment would increase on a median home if the property tax payment increased 8 percent, voters responded that it is unfair (55.7 percent).
o In the Dallas metroplex, 53.8 percent believe the amount to be unfair. More East Texans believe the amount is too high (61.4 percent) and it's higher in the Houston metroplex with 67.4 percent responding that a larger property tax increase this year would be unfair.

Weighted Dallas Houston East Texas
Fair 7.5% 14.0% 7.5% 4.3%
Somewhat Fair 17.0 13.1 14.8 12.4
No Opinion 19.8 19.1 17.7 22.0
Somewhat Unfair 23.4 26.4 23.8 25.3
Unfair 32.3 27.4 36.3 36.1
Total = 2,123 509 538 388
Texans would support (or are neutral to) new service fees from local governments
When asked how revenue should be raised when local governments need revenue, only 18.8 percent of voters would oppose the assessment of fees associated with a service provided.

Weighted Dallas Houston East Texas
Strongly support 9.0% 12.2% 9.9% 8.7%
Support 31.2 27.4 32.2 27.1
Neutral 40.9 45.1 38.1 41.6
Oppose 10.6 8.8 13.1 12.0
Strongly Oppose 8.2 6.5 6.7 10.7
Total = 2,120 507 539 388

Texans have clear preferences on which services funded by property tax revenues are the most important
• The most important service is public education (34.8 percent) and law enforcement is the next highest priority (27.9 percent). If we consider the top two priorities, the public supports public education (48.1 percent), law enforcement (50 percent), and emergency medical services (39%). Those three priorities are then followed by city streets (22.4 percent) and fire protection (22.0 percent).

Prop. 4 is likely to pass and make any future state income tax unconstitutional
• 47.1 percent of the voters agree that the Texas Constitution should be amended to limit any future state income tax, with 38 percent of the voters having no opinion. This view is held across each region of the state.

Details on the Study:
The UT Tyler-Texas Opinion Survey poll was conducted using random sample of the registered voters that have opted-in to take surveys through a company called Dynata. The online panel generated a sample of 2,127 registered voters during a five-day period from between Wednesday September 25 and Sunday September 29.

The data were weighted to be representative of the Texas register voter population. Iterative weighting was used to balance sample demographics to the state population parameters. The sample is balanced to match parameters for gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, and geographic region using an iterated process known as raking. These parameters were derived from 2018 Current Population Survey to reflect Texas's electorate. The use of these weights in statistical analysis ensures that the characteristics of the sample closely reflect the characteristics of registered voters in Texas.

In this poll, the sampling error for 2,117 registered voters in Texas is +/- 2.1 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence interval. The survey's design oversampled respondents from the Dallas metro area (510, +/-4.3), Houston metro area (540, +/-4.2), and East Texas region (388, +/- 4.9) to provide more precise estimates within each region.

As you read the report, know that the weighted column refers to the statewide results and the cross tabs show how patterns vary in Dallas, East Texas and Houston. Regions Defined for this Study:

Dallas Metroplex: 17.4 percent of the state's population resides in Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Kaufman and Rockwall Counties.

Houston Metroplex: 20.9 percent of the state's population resides in Brazoria, Galveston, Harris and Montgomery Counties.

East Texas: 6.7 percent of the state's population resides in Anderson, Angelina, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Franklin, Gregg, Hardin, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Panola, Polk, Rains, Red River, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood Counties.

A member of the prestigious UT System, The University of Texas at Tyler focuses on student success and innovative research in the more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered to nearly 10,000 students. Classified by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and by U.S. News and World Report as a national university, UT Tyler has campuses in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.