Thursday, May 14, 2015


Will it ever end?  I am talking about tax increases.  Right now in Austin the Legislature is attempting to figure out a way to cut taxes.  Yet as I have traveled around the state I have seen several school bond elections being conducted, and locally Cameron ISD passed one last year and Milano ISD just passed one.  Now I am not saying that maybe there was not a need for the bonds, but just how much can property owners take?

Not only will we see an increase in our school taxes we have also seen an increase in appraised values.  According to my information from the appraisal district values for Milam County increased approximately ninety two million dollars this year.  That means almost 600,000 dollars more revenue for the county if the values hold.  These were preliminary values so they could decrease some, but I doubt they will decrease that much.
With the increase in appraised values the property is worth more and all the taxing entities in the county will see an increase in appraised values.  So will we see a decrease in the tax rate to offset the increased value?  I doubt it.  After all, the entities can take the stance that they did not increase taxes.  The good side of the increased appraisals is that now the county can use some of the increase in revenue to fund our Veterans Service Office.
Again I am not saying the schools did not need what they passed the bonds for.  The new Cameron ISD football field looks great.  The baseball fields are also going to be a great addition to the community.  No doubt Milano ISD needed their bond improvements as well, but why couldn’t other ways be found to fund the improvements?  Perhaps reducing spending in other areas to help pay a portion of the cost would have been an option.
Economic development is always a big issue for the county.  Yet how do high taxes help bring businesses to our area?  They don't.  We can offer tax abatements, but the bottom line is that sooner or later abatements end and they have to face the high taxes.  Any business looking to locate takes into consideration that they will face high taxes at some point in time.
I went to a school built in the forties and we had no air conditioning.  All we had was a big oscillating fan in the front of the room with lots of windows to open and a Reznor heater for winter in the back of the room.  However, I would venture to say that we learned more then than students do today.  Yes they perhaps learn more information because more information exists today, but they can't do math without a calculator and their decision making skills are based on "Google it."  Not to mention our educators have deemed cursive writing as antiquated.  How will students be able to sign their name?
Point is our elected officials need to look at other options to fund our governmental entities.  As taxpayers we can't just raise our income when we decide we need a new car or home improvements.  We have to find ways to live within our means.  It is about time the taxing entities learned to live within their means.  It is unfortunate, but whatever tax decreases if any, come out of Austin will be eaten up by increased appraisals and "needs" of the taxing entities.   
Milam County has always been a conservative county, even when the Democrats were in control.  We have elected individuals who claim to be conservative they need to step up to the plate and identify ways to fund projects without increasing taxes.  Or at least postpone them till they can afford them, or it will never end.