Realistic Considerations on Property Taxes

“We never own our property, we only are renting it because of property taxes.” That surely SEEMS to be true, doesn’t it?
“We should do away with property taxes!” Highly unlikely & actually philosophically wrong.

Listen, properties- especially homes- require SERVICES. Streets, water, sewer police & fire protection. Those services are needed by property owners and need to be PAID by property owners. It could be done solely by usage fees, but the large infrastructure needed to setup to deliver those BASIC services are not as easy to fund solely on per usage charges, especially the highly intermittent services of police & fire.So property taxes are a logical way to pay for those. Park land & basic maintenance as well (as a non-essential service).

However, after that, it gets real questionable. Those rec centers, becoming more & more like posh health clubs? Swimming pools, libraries, water parks, senior centers? There are a LOT of property owners that do NOT make use of those services. and would NOT be affected by the denial of service by them. Why are these not SOLELY usage fee-based? The users of these services would howl if they actually had to pay the full cost of these themselves; their generic excuse is that they ‘add to the value of ALL property owners’. NOT while the CURRENT non-users own the properties, though.

This latter consideration ALSO applies to the BIGGEST property tax burden- schools. The people who utilize this government service are vastly fewer in number than those who PAY for it. And those that DO use it generally pay for it before and LONG after they made use of that service. This is a MAJOR redistribution of wealth- and, from a philosophical viewpoint, a questionable use of the property taxation power

Compounding this misuse of taxing authority is the UNIQUE aspect property as a personal investment; it is taxed on the CURRENT value, not the purchased price, plus on capital gains at the time of sale (when the investor is assured of the money to PAY the tax). The problem of this; is the cost of the government services provided to the GIVEN PROPERTY actually tied to current value of the property (whether that is going up- or down). No it is not; ti’s only based on slight inflationary cost increases to provide those services to that property. .

However, most folks have gotten use to this inappropriate approach.of paying for government service. The CURRENT problem is this; the tax load that HAS been dumped on the property owner has gotten to the point of putting home ownership at risk, especially in retirement. And the largest part of that growth is from the school-related taxes, a government service that almost ALL people approaching retirement hasn’t made use of for 15 years or more. To lose one’s home to pay for a government service not being used by the taxpayer for that long makes NO sense whatsoever.

This last part is what the Texas Legislature needs to be assured is addressed by the end of this next session, along with the end of the insanity of Robin Hood. My ideal result by June is
1) Robin Hood is on a short, irreversible path to elimination.
2) Reductions in school property taxes for retirees are in place.
3) The State of Texas is, under it’s constitutional commitment to ‘adequate education’ is paying ALL School M&O associated with actual classroom teaching; teachers, student counselors, etc.The increased funding from the state MUST be ABSOLUTELY tied to matching reductions in school district taxation. (The public ed folks will fight this tooth & toenail; they’ll see it as an opportunity for double income.).

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