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McLennan County officials are set to increase property taxes next year, despite advertising a tax cut to their constituents.

County officials have proposed decreasing the property tax rate by two cents, which is still approximately 1.4 cents above the effective rate. Because of the tremendous upswing in McLennan County property values, the county residents will pay $1.1 million more in property taxes, despite being taxed at what is technically a lower rate than last year.

This is not a new phenomenon in McLennan County. County officials have increased the effective tax rate each of the past four years, despite experiencing significant growth in tax revenue over that same period.

In an area as conservative as McLennan County where nearly everyone campaigns as fiscally responsible, citizens should be seeing lower taxes year after year, but that never happens.

County officials seem far more concerned with growing the size and scope of government and redistributing income from the taxpayer to local bureaucrats. Officials plan to use this increase in revenue to pay for a large portion of their $2.9 million plan to hire new personnel and provide a 2.7 percent cost of living increase to current employees.

To make matters worse, the county does not need such a large revenue increase. According to the proposed budget, commissioners expect $900,000 of county revenue to go unspent. Even if one believes that these aforementioned goals should be pursued, the county could largely accomplish them without raising property taxes.

Why, in a county in which property values are rising so drastically that people are being priced out of their own homes, are officials are more concerned with increasing the size of the local bureaucracy than with allowing struggling taxpayers to keep more of their own money?

Perhaps it is because county commissioners are out of touch with the rest of McLennan County? The majority of commissioners are paid a salary of $90,020 – more than double the median household income in McLennan County – $44,246. Maybe if the county commissioners’ salaries were severely cut, they would begin to understand how harmful high property taxes are to McLennan County residents.

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