Georgetown homeowners: You’re paying hundreds of dollars more per year in taxes so your city council can make corrupt deals—and this year, you’re about to pay even more.

Georgetown City Council is preparing to approve their budget for next year, one that will force the average homeowner to pay roughly $30 more. Though that amount may not seem catastrophic, compared to just seven years ago, the average homeowner is now paying nearly $500 more per year to the council.

City hall claims all that extra cash is for essentials.

“Quality of life, public safety, and responding to population growth were core elements of the FY 2020 proposed budget,” reads a statement on Georgetown’s website.

But one look at the city’s actual budget reveals a different story.

In the nearly 400-page document, two pages discuss the city’s “economic development fund,” a hefty $8.7 million pot of cash set aside for city council to make “economic development agreements” with businesses.

These deals work like this: Council takes your money and hands it over to a business of their choice, giving them not only cash but often special favors and perks, such as tax exemptions.

To illustrate, imagine Georgetown City Council knocking on your door and demanding you pay more in taxes, then walking across the street and handing that cash to your next-door neighbor. Oh, and that neighbor doesn’t have to pay any taxes, either.

It’s not exactly justice.

Aside from being corrupt, these deals are often greatly unnecessary. Take Georgetown’s deal with Holt Cat in 2017, where city council gave the construction equipment company $1.5 million in sales tax rebates to “bring” the business to town.

“This economic development agreement is another excellent example of what can get done when City departments work together,” said Mayor Dale Ross. “This is the direct result of various departments … coming together to help bring another outstanding employer to Georgetown.”

Council boasted that their offer of $1.5 million over five years swayed Holt Cat to come to town, yet council’s handout (paid for by you, the taxpayer) was worth a whopping nine-hundredths of a percent (.09) of Holt Cat’s roughly $1.6 billion in one-year sales.

In other words, that would be like making a $50,000 salary and getting a $9-per-year bonus for the next five years from your employer, because he’s trying to sway you to stay.

While the average Georgetown homeowner is paying nearly $500 more per year to city council, council is spending it on corrupt and needless special deals. Meanwhile, their current $8.7 million stash for these deals is enough money to refund citizens for the past several years of tax raises.

If Georgetown residents want to keep extra money in their pocket to provide for their families, they can contact their city council. The first public hearing on the new budget is planned for September 3, with additional meetings on September 10 and September 24.

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.