Friday, February 8, 2013

The very taxing problem of special taxation districts

Whether you know it of not, you might be paying much higher taxes than your neighbors due to the rapid expansion of special tax districts in Texas.  Such is the warning siren that was sounded by none-other than Patricia Kilday-Hart in her behind-the-pay wall column penned for the Houston Chronicle last Sunday.

Kudos to Kilday-Hart for tackling the subject, because it's one that I feel needs wider viewership in Texas politics.  Not only is the percentage of our taxes that are subject to the whims of unelected bureaucrats rising, but we're also failing to watch what it is these groups are doing in the first place.  Most people don't even know what districts they might be included in due to escrow on their houses etc.

Boo to her however for not recognizing the old Texas Watchdog series of reports that focused on this way back in 2011. (h/t Kevin for remembering that)

The common refrain by those of a Tea Party persuasion is "no taxation without representation!" it hearkens back to the days of the Founding Fathers and gives everyone a warm, fuzzy feeling as they feel they've done their part to restrain the leviathan that is the Federal Government.  Yea! for them.  My problem with the Tea Party is that, while they've mis-spelled signs and worn silly hats and generally had a good time walking around in a no-tax echo chamber, they've allowed local and state government to run amok with almost no oversight and very little attention paid.

The idea that those 'greedy Democrats" are looking to increase taxes and destroy the wealth creators is novel, but it ignores the fact that most of these special taxing districts were created by Republicans.  That's not to say that the Democrats don't want to spend all of the money and then tax for more (in Texas, they certainly do, and on a National level as well) but it's also not fair to gloss over the taxation problems of politicians with the letter (R) behind their names.

These are very important matters since the special taxing groups, once their in place, become very hard to eliminate due to some creative districting which often serves to minimize the voting population within.  That's not to say that none are needed, but I'm willing to bet you that many are not, or have outlived their usefulness and are just hanging on as jobs programs for those too lazy to fill out a proper CV.

So good-on Kilday-Hart for bringing this matter to (some) of the public's eye.  Here's hoping she, and other in Texas media, stick with it.

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