We’ve heard it before — after all, when you write about real estate, you do spend a fair amount of time talking about how difficult and expensive it is to pay property taxes: It’s not always easy to be a property owner in Texas.
We’ve talked about why property taxes are climbing. But Lupe Valdez, newly crowned Democratic candidate for governor, says that a story in the Houston Chronicle that revealed she is facing about $12,000 in overdue property taxes is a good example of why reform is needed.
The Chronicle’s story revealed that Valdez owes $12,000 in overdue taxes on seven properties in two counties — Ellis and Dallas. Campaign officials said that she is paying off those taxes in installments because she cannot afford to pay them all at once. Both appraisal districts do show that she has been making payments on those taxes for several months, but that she must pay them in full by July so they don’t go into collections.
“As we’ve been saying all along, under Greg Abbott’s failed leadership, property taxes are unpredictable and burdensome for Texans everywhere, including Sheriff Lupe Valdez,” said campaign spokesman Juan Bautista Dominguez. “Sheriff Valdez has an agreement with the counties to payoff 2017 property taxes and plans to do so entirely in the coming months.”
However, the Chronicle reports that there is no such agreement on file with the Dallas Central Appraisal District. It also says that she listed companies with erroneous names on two companies in her campaign disclosures.
However, the Dallas Morning News reports that until the overdue taxes hit the July mark, they aren’t technically delinquent. Dominguez told the DMN that one of Valdez’s properties also had two addresses, despite being the same property.
“She makes all pertinent tax payments for this property at the same time,” Dominguez told the DMN. “We plan to file an amended PFS [personal financial statement] to reflect this detail.” He also said that the companies with erroneous names will be changed in the amended personal financial statement, too.
Some say the timing is curious — after all, it’s not that difficult to look this sort of information up, so how did no major news outlet pick this up much earlier? And how did the Valdez campaign not get ahead of this prior to the Chronicle story?
And is Valdez right? Are her travails with the state’s convoluted property tax system representative of the issues everyone in the state has, and actually more of an indictment of Abbott and a GOP-led Texas? Sound off (politely) in the comments.