Dave Lieber, the Dallas Morning News’ consumer “watchdog” columnist has a fabulous piece headlined “Many Texas cities and counties lobbying hard against bill seeking property tax change.”
About SB2 which would lower the rollback rate from 8 percent to 4 percent on local property tax increases and make the rollback elections automatic, Lieber wrote: “Many governments are using precious taxpayer dollars to hire expensive, influential lobbyists to push against your own voters’ best interests.
“You say you want local control for your town and county budgets, and you want state lawmakers to butt out of your business. In truth, you actually fear your own voters butting into your business which is really our business, not yours. It’s so obvious.”
And it is.
“If you can’t grow your local government with a 3.9 percent annual tax increase or less to avoid voter approval elections, maybe you have the wrong job. If you can’t sell your government’s need to grow more than 4 percent in a November election to your own voters, maybe it’s time to move on. The idea of forcing governments to come to us and sell us on their priorities doesn’t scare me. It terrifies you [local officials],” Lieber added.
He then rightly quoted the author of SB 2, Sen. Paul Bettencourt of Houston who has said: “The culture has been [local leaders saying], ‘I’m not raising your tax rate.’ But at the same time, these appraised values have been going up like a rocket ship.”
It’s time to end the farce as best we can and to do so, your legislators need encouragement to ignore the local government lobbying machine.