Houston is ground zero for the state revolt over property taxes, and it seems most elected officials have finally gotten the message. 

KTRK-TV reports that after Harris County District Clerk Charles Bacarisse courageously called for a 5 cent county property tax cut to offset skyrocketing appraisals, current Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has responded with a proposed 1 cent cut.  The savings are relatively modest ($58 per year for the former vs. $12 for the latter), but the message is clear.  Bacarisse is running in the GOP primary against Emmet, who was appointed after Judge Robert Eckels retired.

Even Houston Democrat Mayor Bill White, who has undermiend efforts to cap the rate of the City’s spending growth, has gotten into the tax act in a very small way.  He proposes a 1/8th of a cent cut in the city property tax rate, saving the average homeowner $1.54.

Only liberal Democrat Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee is resisting, calling the tax relief efforts "demagoguery."  The truth is that doing nothing is a tax increase because appraisals have gone up 12 to 15 percent in Harris County in each of the last several years, and commercial properties could go up 30 percent per year if the Comptroller prevails in a current dispute with the Harris County Appraisal District.  That’s not demagoguery – that’s dollars and sense and a windfall for big government that most Houston area officials now realize taxpayers will not tolerate.  Even minimal relief is better than no relief, but surely the Mayor can do better than $1.54, which won’t even pay for one trip to Starbucks.

 

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