While the vast majority of Texans applaud the attention being given to the curse of property taxes, the extent of damage that has been done begs the analogy of catching the horse once he is out of the barn. The escalation of property taxes over the last decade truly is an abomination on the property owners, is subsidizing out-of-control government, and generally benefits only the government’s desire for money and those that don’t own anything to tax.
The property tax bill I received for 2019 stated, with the current increase, that my property taxes had been raised 25 percent over the last five years—a one quarter increase during a time of heavy layoffs within the oil and drilling business and livestock prices significantly down, along with many produce prices—during the five years when it has been repeatedly stated wages were stagnant and many people who could find work were working two jobs. Statistics appear to show that urban home prices have recovered; however, the reality is that rural farm and ranch lands have, in reality, not done so. Most land is found to be selling—when it is sold—for prices much the same as several years ago, with most increases due to the investment by the property owner to improve their land.
When we make improvements in order to farm or ranch, we have to earn the money to do so, but the government increases the costs of those improvements with raising taxes under some false belief that they have a right to gain benefit by our own sacrifices.
Rather than looking to simply limit the continuous and unrelenting increases in these taxes, the people we elect to protect our interest and Texans’ ability to remain in their homes should be looking at legislation to reset the rates back to an honest and appropriate level.
I, like most everyone, don’t understand where the concept of the government being able to tax and re-tax every aspect of our lives is derived from. The concept of government living within its means like citizens must do, especially those on fixed incomes, apparently died decades ago along with responsible government of, by, and for the people. When government taxes at a rate based on automatic increases and building surplus funds, people really do need to re-examine how we define government.
This is a commentary submitted and published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to [email protected].