Local officials: Blame yourselves for big property tax increases.

Pratt on Texas - copyright Pratt on Texas all rights reserved“Elected officials in some cities and counties say they have no choice but to raise taxes as high as they can this year to brace for the implementation of property tax reforms that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Legislature called historic earlier this summer. The average effective tax rate for single-family homes in Texas was 2.18 percent in 2018, third-highest in the nation, according to a study by ATTOM Data Solutions,” reported Jeremy Wallace of the Houston Chronicle.

The story features all types of local officials claiming that they have to pass huge tax increases this budget before the onerous new property tax reform takes effect in 2020. What’s so onerous about the property tax reform passed in the last legislative session? It says that counties and cities cannot adopt a property tax rate that raises more than 3.5% more revenue from the same taxpayers paying the year before without voters approving such in a ratification election.

They are doing so for the same reason the reform was necessary: their rapacious nature and their inability to exercise fiscal discipline.

So still being able to annually soak local taxpayers with property tax increases well above, a multiple in fact, of the rate of inflation is a horrible development for greedy local government officials who somehow believe their job is to grow the size of local government annually at a rate far greater than inflation.

Rep. Dustin Burrows of Lubbock and Senator Paul Bettencourt of Houston championed the property tax reform in the last session and ultimately passed the most meaningful reform since the 1970’s. It was a bitter battle and passed because of decades of abuse of taxpayers by the same local officials blaming tax reform for their raising of local taxes.

It is dishonest to the extreme to claim that local governments are grabbing huge tax increases because of the reform. They are doing so for the same reason the reform was necessary: their rapacious nature and their inability to exercise fiscal discipline.

What do you think?...

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