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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gif1-real-estate-tax-2016

Texas rests in real estate tax ignominy, coming in fifth in WalletHub’s 2016 ranking of state property tax rates at 1.97 percent, though our media home value is the lowest of similarly taxed states at $131,400. We’re coming in behind No. 1 New Jersey (, No. 2 Illinois, No. 3 New Hampshire, and No. 4 Wisconsin. Hawaii, has the lowest property taxes in the nation, but ranks near the tippy top with median home values.

Of course, we already know that property taxes in Texas are obscene, but It’s a hard pill to swallow when we see how much we’re paying once you even the playing field. What WalletHub did was see how much taxes are paid per homeowner on a home valued at the nation’s median — $175,700.

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Don't Mess with Taxes

Wallet Hub did a very interesting analysis when it comes to the various tax systems employed by individual states in the nation. Come to find out, Texas’ tax system, which relies heavily on property taxes to fund our government services, is rated as one of the most unfair tax systems. Of course, after our recent spate of good fortune in the housing market, it’ll be interesting to see how much homeowners are going to end up paying in 2015. And what about all of the capital gains folks are going to have to pay on those record-breaking sales?

Next April is going to hurt, that’s for sure.

Jump to see the how Texas measured up:

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I survived, but John Ames’ office … or maybe last month’s ice storm… is certainly responsible for the demise of my complexion. I received not just a tax delinquency statement but a pile of letters from lenders wanting to “help me out”:

“Your 2010 Texas property taxes were due on January 31, 2011. According to our records, you have unpaid taxes in Dallas County and have incurred 7% in fees from county taxing authorities.”

I paid our taxes on Jan. 31 and had paperwork to prove it. So I popped off an email and just off the phone with DCAD. Seems our account is paid in full. Because of the ice storm, some postings were late and the system generated an auto-collections letter.

Anyone else get an almost-heart attack over this?