After a regular session and three special sessions of the Texas State Legislature in 2021, I am greatly disappointed in the lack of urgency by the politicians in Austin regarding the issue of property tax relief. For the Austin politicians to tell an average homeowner, who may see a tax bill exceeding $6,000, that the legislature gave him a $200 reduction in his property taxes next year is an insult to the property owners of Texas. And, the reduction, which will be temporary, should not come at the expense of the State’s surplus.
Then, there is the constitutional amendment to be voted on in 2022 which increases the school district homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000. For the legislature to have to continually tinker with the property tax system in order to “give” property owners some tax relief is evidence of an inefficient way of conducting business in the collection of revenue for the government.
It’s time for the Texas Legislature to repeal the property tax. The only true value tax is a sales tax. The property tax system is similar to the gaming industry. The house (casino) always has the odds on its side because it sets the rules. There are no 50/50 bets in the gaming industry. All bets are biased to the benefit of the house. Since the government sets the rules for assessing property taxes, the rules always bias the assessment of taxes to the house (government).
The legislature is constantly under pressure from local politicians who seek, by legislative authority, the ability to enhance their revenues. That school districts, cities and counties continue to increase their spending is mostly the result of the failure of their voters to elect the right people and that is not the fault of members of the legislature. However, since most levels of government in Texas depend in part or in whole on legislative authority, the legislature does no favor to taxpayers by allowing local politicians to reach deeper into the pockets of taxpayers to pay for newly devised schemes the politicians and bureaucrats cook up.
Again, it is time to seriously consider the repeal of the property tax in Texas and replace it with an increased sales tax. One consequence of the continued reliance on the property tax is the creation of an increase in the size of the tax appraisal bureaucracy, which must be funded indirectly through the property tax, thereby putting more pressure on those entities it serves and which rely on the property tax. A sales tax is the only fair and objective tax. The property tax is subjective and unfair.© Jim Terry
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