Tarrant

Photo courtesy Tarrant County

Longtime Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Jacquelyn Wright has had her fair share of controversy in the 28 years she’s served in that position.

But that controversy may be outpaced by Wednesday’s news that a grand jury indicted Wright, 77, on four felony charges related to homestead exemptions she claimed.

It is alleged that she falsely claimed the exemptions on homes she did not live in to avoid paying property taxes on a home on Ivy Hill Road in Fort Worth, the indictment said. Her claims spanned from 2010 to 2018, when she falsely applied for and received a homestead exemption in 2015, 2016, and 2018 for the Ivy Hill Road home. (more…)

By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

We Texans cherish our homestead rights more than anyone. And we’ve got the state constitution to prove it.

Cue the old west music and picture Ma with a baby on her hip and Pa with his rifle at the door of their simple home. That must be what the Texas founding fathers had in mind when they enacted our state’s constitution and property code to help protect our citizens.

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Pothole SM

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.

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