Mondays With Brigid: Like a Broken Record

Our property tax appraisal system does not work and places an unfair burden on homeowners and small business!

(Pssst....If I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, it’s only because I’m determined to fix our broken property tax system!)

State laws on the books make it too easy for big businesses to protest the appraised value of their property. When those businesses successfully have their property valuations lowered, they pay fewer taxes.

That means the money needed to fund our schools, police departments, roads, etc. is increasingly coming from somewhere else.

Guess who’s picking up that slack? Homeowners and small business owners.

When I’m out block walking, many of you are telling me that skyrocketing property taxes are your number one concern! The crazy thing is, in the race for Travis County Commissioner, my opponents are not touching this issue.

It’s a daunting endeavor, but I will attack it head on!

The Austin American-Statesman ran an insightful article over the weekend by Christian McDonald and Tony Plotheski about this injustice.

They write, “Large businesses have turned to the courts to systematically lower their property tax bills by millions of dollars, shifting the tax burden to homeowners. County appraisers say once they become the target of such lawsuits, the system is so stacked against them that the litigation becomes the equivalent of bringing a penknife to a gunfight.”

The Statesman and local television news station KVUE worked together to analyze the property tax problem. They found that property owners have obtained a total of $1.8 billion--BILLION--in valuation reductions since 2010. That’s $40 million in tax dollars that the City of Austin, Travis County, the Austin Independent School District and other taxing territories lost.

And yet, Texas leads the nation when it comes to giving companies big tax incentives. According to a recent New York Times report, fifty-one cents for every state budget dollar is being used to lure business to Texas.

This must stop. We must curtail this wasteful spending. And big businesses must be forced to foot their fair portion of the property tax obligation.

Someone has to stand up and be a voice for the hardworking residents of Travis County who are victims of the legal loopholes large corporations are able to slip through.

That someone is me.

As Travis County Commissioner, I will make it a priority to make the tax appraisal system more fair for homeowners. You can help me by supporting my campaign through donations or by volunteering.

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commented 2013-11-06 17:40:53 -0600 · Flag
My taxes are insane!!