Cedar Park citizens are about to pay even higher bills, thanks to their city council.

Cedar Park City Council recently approved their new tax rate for 2019, one that will charge the average homeowner roughly $57 more than last year.

That $57 increase piles on top of the fact that the average homeowner is now paying the city roughly $500 more per year than they did just six years ago.

And not only will homeowners be paying more next year—everyone will.

Whether you own property or not, higher property taxes mean higher bills everywhere, from apartment rents to grocery store prices.

Why is Cedar Park City Council taxing citizens over $2 million more in total next year? One look at how they’re spending money raises questions about if they really need more.

For example, look at the city council’s “economic development fund,” a whopping $19 million pot of your cash they set aside for things such as “economic development agreements” with businesses. That’s a code term for when the council makes special deals with hand-picked corporations.

Here’s how these deals work: The council takes your tax dollars and hands them 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 local government officials knocking on your door and demanding you pay more in taxes, then walking across the street and handing that cash to your rich next-door neighbor. Oh, and that neighbor doesn’t have to pay any taxes, either.

It’s not exactly justice.

Cedar Park City Council has given away millions of your dollars in perks to special businesses such as Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Hyliion, and Costco, using money you could’ve instead saved to provide for your family.

And here’s the worst part: Those deals were pathetically unnecessary in bringing those businesses to Cedar Park.

The council gave $6 million to Costco in 2012, but that handout was worth only six one-thousandths of a percent (0.006) of the company’s $97 billion in net sales that year. To put that in perspective, imagine your employer giving you a $3 signing bonus on your $50,000 salary, claiming that “incentive” was what swayed you to work there.

If Cedar Park City Council stopped these corrupt and needless deals, they wouldn’t need to keep raising your bills, and you could keep hundreds of extra dollars in your pocket. But as things stand currently, that $500-higher tax bill will keep getting pricier unless citizens act.

If Cedar Park citizens want to make their opinion known on the looming tax hike, they can contact their city council or attend either of the two budget public meetings scheduled for September 12 or 19. The city council is expected to approve the new tax hike on September 26.

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.