No one really likes taxes, but that’s what it takes to invest in our future here in Texas. Our Texas government functions, for better or for worse, with this marriage of property and taxes. Our property tax system generates over $40 billion per year for schools, roads, police, and fire protection — all things Texans rely on in some form or fashion.
So the reality is we need tax systems, even complex ones like the property tax system. And since it’s a complex tax system, we owe it to ourselves to make sure it is at the very least working properly and producing a fair outcome.
For many years, our elected leaders in Austin have ignored the pleas of ordinary homeowners and small business to fix our broken property tax system and restore confidence that it is fair for everyone, including them. That’s why it’s time Texans hire a Watchdog to serve as Comptroller. Texans need to know they have someone in Austin fighting for their rights as taxpayers for a property tax system that works properly and is fair for everyone, including homeowners and small businesses.
I recently announced seven policy initiatives which I will pursue if I am honored to serve as Comptroller, and first of these is property tax reform. The Republicans have said they want to get rid of the property tax, but that’s a terrible idea. It would cause our sales taxes to increase to 20% (at least), and it would take away local control of our school districts, cities, counties and so forth.
I believe we should fix our property tax system, not ditch our property tax system. As Comptroller, I will be in a position to fight hard for property tax reform. I will use the Comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Division to make sure appraisals are done accurately and that overzealous (or incompetent) appraisers aren’t driving values up unreasonably. I will work with the legislature to close loopholes that give some property owners with high-priced attorneys an unfair advantage. I will also encourage and work with local authorities to develop techniques to provide relief to homeowners and small business owners in areas of rapidly rising prices.
The property tax system is the right system for Texas because it keeps things local, it’s very stable, and it’s not a regressive tax. We should make it work. But it’s hard to look at our Texas system in operation today and not immediately see how much better it could work if we rolled up our sleeves and fixed it. As a Certified Public Accountant, non-politician turned Texas Comptroller, I intend to roll up my sleeves and see just how far I can push the appraisal districts, the legislature, our school districts, and the rest to start using an accountant’s common sense and make the system work to our satisfaction. When taxpayers have the confidence that their tax systems are fair and their money is not being wasted, then and only then will they support funding our schools, roads, water infrastructure, and so forth.
For more information please visit my reform plan on my website at www.collierfortexas.com.