Two Lubbock County commissioners took bold action to fight for their taxpaying constituents.

Standing up to the majority of the commissioners court, which sought to impose a significant increase in its proposed budget, Commissioners Jason Corley and Chad Seay released a video Monday morning before the public meeting, explaining their proposal and strategy.

Commissioner Seay outlined in the video how they had worked diligently with county staff to cut spending in the proposed budget and other areas and reallocate those resources to the sheriff’s office, which was in greater need.

Commissioner Corley then stated the other three members of the court decided against their proposal.

The two commissioners found themselves outnumbered 3-2, with the majority pushing to pass a property tax rate increase of 5.47 percent—or $3,811,810 more in property tax revenue than the previous year’s budget. This caused Corley and Seay to take a stand by “breaking quorum.”

Texas Government Code 81.006 effectively requires that four of the five members of a commissioners court be present at a meeting where a tax is to be levied. Since the court would have passed the tax increase on a 3-2 margin, the two commissioners decided to break quorum in a move called “no show, no vote.” Without the two commissioners present for the meeting, the county would be unable to vote on and pass the proposed tax increase.

If the two commissioners also break quorum at the second hearing, the property tax rate will automatically revert back to the “effective tax rate” for 2019.

The effective tax rate is the rate that would collect roughly the same property tax revenue from properties taxed in both the current and previous tax year. Regardless of the tax rate adopted, taxing entities such as counties will always receive additional tax revenue from new properties added to the tax rolls in any given year.

“Remember, taxes only go up when good conservatives do nothing,” stated Seay at the conclusion of the video.

The second tax rate meeting for the county commissioners court is scheduled for September 23. If the two commissioners break quorum again, the tax increase will be defeated.

Matt Stringer

Matthew Stringer is from Odessa, TX and serves as a West Texas Correspondent for Texas Scorecard.