Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Letters to the Editor

April 8, 2014

Ag, timer exemptions a ‘money grab’

JACKSONVILLE — I recently wrote a letter that was critical of the Appraisal District for forcing landowners to jump through hoops and spend money to maintain timber and ag exemptions on rural property. A past board member of the Cherokee County Appraisal District wrote a rebuttal stating I "exude naïveté, disingenuousness, ignorance and a failure to understand economics".......wow, must have touched a nerve.

Well, I may or may not be some of those things, but despite his self righteousness and insults, I stick by the main point of the original letter ... that this is a money grab designed to make it more difficult to maintain exemptions on rural properties. Speaking of disingenuous, he also implies this only affects properties less than 11 acres. Wrong. The Cherokee Co. Appraisor clearly indicated this is the first step and that larger properties would be progressively (progressive, now there's an interesting term) added in the coming years. He states someone's "shaggy patch of woods" with no timber management plan shouldn't qualify. Well, he must not be from timber country because that "shaggy patch" will grow up and produce many thousands of dollars of marketable timber over a 30 year time span. That's exactly what a bought and paid for timber management plan will state, along with other management suggestions.

Another point of my original letter that I stick to is that losing the exemptions will simply make the property unaffordable for many landowners. Yes, the exemptions are designed to stimulate AG and timber activities, but they also implicitly recognize that taxing ever larger pieces of rural property at the normal effective rate becomes eccessive at some point, again, making the tax burden unreasonable and unaffordable except to the very wealthy.

I don't mind paying my property taxes. What I do mind is having to navigate bureaucratic hurdles and spend additional monies to claim a legitimate tax exemption. And I mind that others will not have the time, money, or ability (think elderly) to do the same. And I REALLY mind the bureaucratic attitude that its some act of benevolence that these exemptions exist to start with.

Ronnie Cundieff

Jacksonville

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