Analysis of Tax Capacity and Tax Effort of Texas Counties, 1980-1993

Rod Hissong


Texas counties vary dramatically across socio-economic factors. They range in population from 127 in Loving County to 2.9 million in Harris County. Population densities range from less than one person per square mile to 2,175 people per square mile. Some economies are nearly exclusively agrarian, others are heavily dependent upon oil and gas and yet others closely reflect the national economy. These, and other variations, create difficulties when comparing the public fiscal health of the counties; ie a county's ability to generate revenues for public goods and services. This study focuses on the Tax Capacity Index and Tax Effort Index of Texas counties calculated exclusively with the county property tax rates and levies. The Tax Capacity Index when using only the property tax base and the property tax rate, becomes the comparison of the individual county per capita property value to the average per capita property value for all Texas counties.