I find it telling to see that Texas municipalities are lobbying against tax reduction legislation, while citizens are advocating for it.

In yet another example of city priorities taking precedence over those of its citizens, the Town of Sunnyvale’s town council approved by a 6-0 vote a resolution to keep the town’s property tax rollback rate at its current level of 8 percent — putting everyone on notice that the town opposes the property tax reduction legislation currently being debated in the Texas Legislature.

Their unanimous vote on February 11 showed that the council is not willing to allow the citizens of the town to have a voice on tax increases over the lower 2.5 percent trigger being debated in the legislature.

It was a major disappointment to see what is supposed to be a conservative town council act in this manner. While council members across Texas struggle to find the funding for a variety of municipal needs, too many forget that they are elected by and represent individual people, not cities and towns.

As our elected representatives, we expect them to wisely use the money we have authorized, distinguishing between “needs” and “wants.” However, we have not authorized them to raid the piggy bank whenever they feel the municipality needs more revenue.

Despite the hue and cry from municipalities, this legislation is not about capping property tax increases; it is about ensuring citizens have a greater voice in taxation and are willing to authorize more spending. Given the heavy property tax burden we now carry, what can be more sensible?

In reality, this discussion should be over how to reduce our heavy property tax burden, rather than how to just limit its increase.


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 submission@texasscorecard.com.

Emery Powell

Powell is a resident of Sunnyvale and a candidate for Sunnyvale Town Council in the May 4 election.