Do you hear that knocking at your door? It’s the taxman, and he wants more money. Pay up. It’s bad enough that appraisal creep and unrestrained spending is taking a bigger and bigger bite out of taxpayers’ take-home pay, but now comes word that local governments want an even bigger bite out of your bank account.

 

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that county commissioners there are set to raise taxes by 6 percent. That is in addition to the 20 percent appraisal increase taxpayers are already shouldering. So your taxes are going up because of the unbridled appraisal creep, and they are going up because county commissioners just want more money.

 

The article says that commissioners need to money to fund the jails. Like the schoolyard bully who threatens to beat you up if you don’t have over your lunch money, local officials very often threaten to open the jails unless taxpayers cough up more dough.

 

The threat is the same one always used: if we don’t get the money, criminals will be turned loose on the streets. Government officials won’t scale back anything else, maybe reconsider non-essential services; there is no efficiency anywhere else, every dollar is being spent with 100% effectiveness.

 

The article says the Dallas County commissions (though it’s the same song everywhere else in the state) are increasing the pay for all county employees, hiring new bureaucrats and expanding programs. That doesn’t require new money, nooooo. The Dallas Morning News reports that the “tax rate increase was needed to close a $20 million budget shortfall caused in part by costly jail improvements” and other jail expenses.

 

If only newspapers asked questions like “Why are you doing new spending if you have a shortfall in the jails?” instead of parroting the grow-government lines, we might see some interesting reporting… But the laziness of reporters is another issue. (And as a recovering reporter, I know from whence I speak.)

 

It’s classic: Elected officials fail to prioritize spending, and therefore the true priorities are left poorly funded – and hence become the cause celebre for raising taxes.

Across the Metroplex, the City of Fort Worth is planning to spend $1 billion in their new budget. Fort Worth now has the highest tax burden in the state. The city has grown spending, according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, some 39 percent in just four years.

But all that spending and all those taxes are not enough for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. No, their editorial board is still supporting a 1-cent increase in the Metroplex sales tax so that even more money can be spent on ineffective “rail” lines and other such silliness. (Of course, the Star-Telegram and other newspapers have long fought having sales taxes applied to their product… Funny, eh?)

If you live in Dallas/Fort Worth… Well, cling to your wallet or call U-Haul. The taxman is coming for you.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, and a dog. Check out his podcast, Reflections on Life and Liberty.

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