I am one of those people that views most taxation as theft. I am for limited, necessary government, not an eradication of all government so don’t confuse the two. It is imperative that taxpayers stand up in their local communities and demand their officials to 1) retain local control of their own governments, 2) protect taxpayers from inappropriate levels of government (i.e., federal and state) interfering in their local business, 3) cut spending and focus resources on only those responsibilities that should belong to government. That is not a compelling message when addressing commissioners and taxing authorities. No one in elected office wants to hear that, but we must begin the dialogue. We have to get the people involved in being responsible for their government. My first step to that as it pertains to local taxation is below. It is simply a request for our elected officials to engage the people who elected them. It is not enough to protest our appraisals then cry to each other on social media or at the water cooler. This problem continues to snowball because we allow it. Time for the taxpayer to engage. Now.
To: jack.morman <firstname.lastname@example.org>; rodney.ellis <email@example.com>; steve.radack <firstname.lastname@example.org>; commissionercagle <email@example.com>
Cc: judge.emmett <firstname.lastname@example.org>; osanchez <email@example.com>; JLongoria <JLongoria@poha.com>; christopherjsmith <firstname.lastname@example.org>; ann.harris-bennett <email@example.com>
Sent: Fri, May 19, 2017 8:53 am
Good morning, Commissioners of Harris County.
I am a lifelong resident of Harris County, born and raised on the east side, owned homes on the east and north sides and now on the west side. I have worked in the refineries on the south side, construction on the north, east and west side and major corporations in midtown. I have spent my share of sales tax in my 30 years of being employed in this county and have contributed well in property taxes to our local schools, esd’s, port authority, etc.
It is no secret that we have a tremendous taxation problem in our county. Property owners are bearing the burden of an out of control appraisal system and bureaucracy making it impossible to impact the cost of taxation for living in our communities. My family is carefully planning our exit from Harris County as my youngest child approaches graduation. We no longer feel the cost of living here is conducive to our future way of life. We will be moving from the county that has always been my home.
With that said, I am opposed to SB2, as I believe adding an oversight board at the state level is the antithesis of local control. I was grateful to see Judge Emmett speak out against this bad bill to the media, but a little disappointed that I did not see any reference to Harris County representation speaking out against it in Austin over the last several days.
Furthermore, it is widely known that our appraisal system is a shambles – at least for the taxpayer. It is common practice for appraisals to routinely increase according to the cap, rather than any other legitimate, measurable basis of their own property valuation. The hearings are a farce, with the taxpayers having limited ability to impact decisions.
I would like to see the commissioners come out into the community and work with local tax assessors at every level, property owners and business owners to exercise real local control by devising solutions to this ever growing, cumbersome system. Whether it be spending and services cuts or creative ways to produce revenue, there has to be change. At the end of the day, we have some of the most brilliant business minds in the world, right here in our hometown. There has to be a better way to provide necessary, limited government to the people than taxing property owners out of their homes and businesses. It is time to engage and figure out what we can live without or provide more efficiently, while helping pocket communities discover ways to better support and help themselves. The answer cannot be more and more government and taxation. If we leave things as they are, it is sure to drive the state and federal governments to have more excuses to interfere with our local livelihoods. No one needs that.
I would like to see a concerted effort from our local leadership to keep our dollars and our control as close to home as possible. Your constituents deserve your engagement and want to see solutions. What can be done to make this happen?