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State Releases Annual Property Tax Report

By Tim Brown
CIP Senior Analyst

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts released the Annual Property Tax Report for Tax Year 2009 earlier this week. The report is a bit more bare bones than in past years but includes some important information for county officials.

In 2009, local governments collected $40.0 billion in property taxes, which is 47.80 percent of all taxes collected in Texas (not counting federal taxes such as the income tax). Local sales taxes accounted for another $5.9 billion or 7.5 percent of the pot. In addition, $37.8 billion were collected in state taxes. This combination of the state sales tax and other state taxes accounted for 45.16 percent of the taxes collected in Texas.

Of course, property taxes do not tell the whole story. While property taxes are typically the most important revenue source for counties, taxes are far less important to the state. As an example of other state revenue sources, in 2009 Texas had revenue of $126.3 billion from interest and other investment income for the Economic Stabilization Fund according to the state’s Annual Financial Report for the Year Ended August 31, 2009.

To a limited extent, the Annual Property Tax Report also addresses who is collecting the property taxes. As the chart shows, counties collected 16.3 percent of the total statewide property tax levy, slightly less than the 16.5 percent collected by cities. School districts continue to be the primary source of property taxes – in 2009 they collected $21.8 billion or 54.4 percent of the levy.

What the chart does not show is the year over year growth in property taxes. From 2008 to 2009, the total statewide property tax levy grew 2.7 percent. The growth in county property taxes was slightly higher at 2.9 percent. This increase was less than increases in previous years. As the Comptroller points out, the annual compound growth rate in total statewide property taxes was 6.58 percent from 1990 to 2009.

The state’s population growth continued to hover around 2 percent as it has in recent years. From 2008 to 2009 there was a 1.97 percent population increase according to U. S. Census Bureau estimates.

Over the same period, inflation was held in check as prices actually declined 0.4 percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI). This decrease differed greatly from previous years; annual percentage changes had ranged from an increase of 2.8 to 3.8 percent during 2005 to 2008.

If you have any comments or questions about this article, please contact Tim Brown at or call (800) 456-5974.