Taxes are paid so that government can pool monies that enable it to embark on projects that enrich society as a whole. When government is underfunded, education and infrastructure suffer. Anyone who jumped for joy at their measly property tax reduction this year also abdicated their right to complain about DISD, potholes, or Fair Park. The 37 cents a day I saved was invisible to me and certainly wouldn’t pay for much municipally on its own. But when joined with the savings of every other household in Texas, it equates to $3.8 billion statewide in 2015-2016.
Without taxes, there would be no public libraries, police, fire, ambulance, public schools, roadways, etc. Without taxes, every single road would be a nightmare of privately-owned thoroughfares, collecting tolls with each change in ownership. We’ve all read stories in recent years about homes that were allowed to burn because the homeowner hadn’t paid their subscription fee for fire protection. It’s estimated there are 1,200 such subscription-based municipalities in the USA.
The Texas Transportation Commission acknowledges an annual underfunding of $5 billion in transportation infrastructure improvements. In the 16-county area covered by the North Central Texas Council of Governments, this equates to roughly $2 billion a year in underspending.
Tie those two numbers together. The entire state gave back barely enough money to properly fund Metroplex roads. Still feeling good about that piddly tax reduction?
Now before you get all uproarious in the comments, I’m not a fan of Texas’ high property taxes.
I hear you saying, “First he says government is underfunded, then he says taxes, which fund government are too high.” That appears contradictory, doesn’t it? Not really.