Local reporting on new local property tax rates is mostly misleading or obscure

Pratt on TexasRepetitive? Yes, but necessary. I’ve been at this for well over a decade and yet annually members of the media, local elected officials, and others demonstrate that they are either purposefully dishonest or ignorant on an issue for which they have no excuse for their incomprehension and obscurantism.

I am referring to the property tax and local governments setting new tax rates for the coming year.

The optimist in me, that once large and now significantly shrinking personality part, thinks that if I just put it the right way we will finally all stop being mislead, at least from the ignorance angle.

…any media item that reports proposed new tax rates as being lower or higher than the current rate, or past year’s rate, is to be discounted as uninformed.

First, understand that any media item that reports proposed new tax rates as being lower or higher than the current rate, or past year’s rate, is to be discounted as uninformed.

Local government property tax rates are not like the income tax where the rate slides up and down. Texas property tax rates expire at the end of each year and a wholly new rate is set. That new rate does not have any real meaning in relation to the last rate that was set. This is because each year the appraised values of property for the purpose of taxation change.

That new rate does not have any real meaning in relation to the last rate that was set.

Any new tax rate set is only meaningful as to whether taxes are going up or down, or whether the government body is collecting more or less from you, when compared to the newly calculated Effective Rate – the rate at which after appraisal changes revenue to the government would be neutral from that same set of existing property.

Not only is reporting that a proposed new tax rate is lower or higher than “last year’s rate” meaningless, it is often so misleading as to make it appear that taxes are going down when in fact property taxes are going up.

What do you think?...

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