Our local school district has a bond election coming up and we just received our tax appraisal notices. Someone had the audacity to post information about the bond issue on our local neighborhood group. Needless to say, the immediate response was that our taxes our high enough as is, etcetera, etcetera.
Two things really bugged me. The first was the person who acknowledged that we pay no state income taxes in Texas but that the property taxes were still outrageous. So it’s common knowledge that homeowner property taxes are high because we don’t have an income tax and business property is incrediably undervalued because transaction prices don’t have to be disclosed but this person still can’t look past their immediate tax bill. Would he vote for a candidate who supported an income tax? No, because “they would still have a property tax no matter what other revenue is generated.” Ah, but I’m sure he is enjoying living in a house that costs only two thirds of what it would in Austin or Dallas and only half or a quarter of what it would be on either coast.
Then there is the argument that as houses are built, the tax base is being expanded to pay for the new schools so we don’t need any bonds. I think our district is growing by something like 4,000 kids a year. So while I’m pretty sure most, if not all, of the residents of the neighborhood paid for their houses with loans and not out of their current salary and it’s standard business practice to take out a loan for new structures based on future sales, school districts and government in general must pay as it goes. The bond is based on the taxes that the new houses will pay. The amount of taxes generated by a new house the year after it is built isn’t going to to support the two new kids who will be entering the school system.
I’m not saying that the proposed schools amenities couldn’t be scaled back some. There are some pretty nice schools being built around here. But then again, there are some pretty nice houses being build here as well and you’re still taking home a bigger percentage of your paycheck than in most other places. If the reputation of the local school district is one of the selling points in buying a house in the area (and it is-our high school plays in the “Gucci bowl”) then maybe you should expect to have to help pay for that reputation. Geez, I homeschool my son and I’m not complaining about the property tax increase.