Rampant lying by local officials on property taxes

Pratt on Texas - copyright Pratt on Texas all rights reservedIt is, and should be considered so by all, reprehensible that a city official, paid generously by taxpayers, would expressly attempt to mislead taxpayers to believe that a proposed tax increase is actually a decrease. We’ve come to expect such from some elected officials but paid staff should be expected to always give clear and straight answers to the citizens for whom they work.

D. Blu Kostelich, City of Lubbock CFO

The City of Lubbock’s chief financial officer, Blu Kostelich, received an email from a citizen expressing opposition to the proposed city property tax increase. Instead of acknowledging that the proposed tax rate is a tax increase, Kostelich wrote back attempting to make it appear that it was actually a tax decrease. Kostelich fully knew that the tax rate percentage number, while lower than the current year’s tax rate percentage, was indeed a substantial tax increase.

We’ve become sadly, or sickeningly, accustomed to elected officials misleading the public on property tax increases and that lying is, in a big way, responsible for the property tax reforms passed last year by legislators in SB2.

Darron Leiker, city manager, Wichita Falls

The lying is widespread. Someone in Wichita Falls government told a newspaper reporter that “The no-new-revenue rate would mean a $1.4 million decrease in the property tax revenue.” Sorry, but that is mathematically impossible – it’s not opinion, it is impossible.

And Wichita Falls city manager, one Darron Leiker, claimed that adopting the Effective Tax Rate would require “cuts” to “police and fire departments.” How does that work given that the No New Revenue Rate, or Effective Rate, brings in the same amount of money from existing taxpayers, via property taxes, as it did in the current year’s budget?

Read more: It’s not just local elected officials who mislead voters on tax increases

Comments

  1. Don’t cut pay on Firemen and Police, stop all the beautifying projects. Tearing up good roads to put stars in intersections was a big waste. The handicap sidewalks was only a year old when you did that.

  2. I’m District 5 City Councilor for Wichita Falls Tx. Ive been on your show before talking about a dress code the Mayor of WF put out that I had to wear a suit.Plus he tired to fire me. I dont own a suit,I’m dressed in heavy starched wranglers a pearl snap shirt a western blazer & boots. But I voted NO last Tuesday on the new proposed 20-21 tax budget. They did not raise the tax rate of 0.76 so I ask for the 0.74 tax rate because of the high tax appraisals which means more revenue for the city. Mr Leikers first words out of his mouth was if we do that we will have to lay off policeman & fireman. I said NO lets cut the top 20 or 25 top personal 10% & that would trim the budget to about a 1/4 of a million dollars. They said we would need about $1.5 million to be able to do that. Well we could cut nearly another $100,000 on parks & recreation. The city owned golf course has a revenue of $910,000 with expenditures of $910,000 but they did not otemize to to show where the money has been spent. The mayor said we are not in the business to put money back in the citizens pockets. Im running again for office & Kevin Hunter is running for mayor. If we both get elected we will start to office the swamp if all the corruption in Wichita Falls.

    • Pratt on Texas says

      Steve, I covered all of this in detail on the show and mentioned many times that you were the only one to vote against the tax increase. Thanks for your good work.

  3. They are trying to intimidate me & threatening me by using other people to do it. They are pulling out all stops to keep us out of office because we are so close to draining the swamp if we both get elected. Sincerely Steve Jackson

  4. If you can’t drain the swamp now, you never will. I remember when Austin was the same size and had a conservative mayor.

  5. Debbie collier says

    It’s awful how elected officials repeatedly lie to tax paying citizens.

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