Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

April 4, 2014

A few more words on ag exemptions

Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — People who claim an ag exemption and really do not tend to it are not benefitting the economy; all they are doing is forcing the rest of us to pay higher taxes to make up for their dishonesty.  I kind of get the feeling that the author berating the Appraisal District is sanctioning fibbing or, to put it more to the point, condoning dishonesty. 

Gosh!  Maybe we should start fibbing on our tax returns because we cannot afford all the taxes we pay.  Russell Long, a Louisiana politician from many decades past, once said: "Don't tax you.  Don't tax me.  Tax the guy behind the tree."  The undertone of his sarcastic crack was basically that we seem to be always trying to get somebody else to bear the burden.  Whatever it is we want the government to do we should be willing to pay for it.  Don't gripe about the condition of the city's infrastructure if you are not willing to provide the funds to keep things up.

 Let me address the "Rainy Day Fund" as a means of addressing state budget shortcomings.  Texas has a highway system that is in rapid disrepair because our Texas legislators haven't the guts to raise the revenue necessary to stay on top of the continuing wear and tear on the highways; to compound things Texas' growing population is increasing exponentially the speed with which the highways are deteriorating. 

No legislator will risk his job by saying "Look, citizens of Texas!  If you haven't the means to keep the highways in good shape, where will you come up with the funds to fix them after they are broken."  Or, put another way:  "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."  Equate the ounce to a quarter and the pound to a dollar. 

The Rainy Day Fund" does not need to be used to pick up the property tax dollar slack.  It needs to be dedicated toward the state's infrastructure issues.

 Getting back to the Appraisal District, Lee Flowers, the county's chief appraiser, is a dedicated young (compared to me) man who is skilled and who has demonstrated skills that other taxing authorities would envy.  Detail is important to Lee and we should be glad for that.  He and his appraisers have a tough job

to do. 

There is nothing in the world wrong with requiring taxpayers to be honest when rendering their property.  It may sound kind of dumb but I have been eligible for my over-65 exemption for three years now but have never felt comfortable getting it because I know somebody else will have to pay what I no longer have to pay.  Full disclosure, in the past I have served on the Board of Directors of the Cherokee County Appraisal District.


Mike McEwen