Thursday, June 2, 2016

Milking The Tax Cow in Wylie

Image credit: http://c621674.r74.cf2.rackcdn.com/blog/cash-cow.jpg
An article published in the local newspaper yesterday really got my attention. Mostly, because I've said exactly what they wrote.  I have watched my property valuation dramatically increase while the city tosses us a half cent or full cent decrease in tax rate, as if they are somehow helping us. I'm calling BS on it, and frankly, so is The Wylie News.

I noticed in the past several articles published about taxes, that The Wylie News isn't taking too kindly to the tax rate in Wylie. Though the articles try to remain unbiased, any savvy reader can distinguish the bent.

In this particular article written by Joe Reavis, he addresses how the taxing entity, in this case Wylie, "boast that it left the property tax rate unchanged" but that in reality they are actually allowing an increase of taxes property owners pay, by the very nature that the property value increase. They are not making any adjustments and thus the check we write to the tax collector every year has steadily increased, way above the rates at which household incomes have risen.

Another quote from the article claims, "By leaving tax rates untouched, or lowering them a minimal amount, taxing entities have been stealthily increasing taxes for years."

I've been saying this very thing for several years. Believe me, the city staff know exactly what they are doing. Yet our seemingly miserly city council keep pretending they are providing measured relief in the half penny and penny decrease they toss our way. They threaten that lowering it more than that might mean they have to come back the next year and increase it. Our mayor even went so far a couple years in a row to threaten that they have it within their rights to increase the tax rate to some 92 or 93 cents due to the stupidity of voters back in the early 2000s, who approved that. Bullocks. It's an excuse to keep milking the cash cow and living the high life.

According to Ross Kecseg who runs the Metroplex Bureau for Empower Texans and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, he published a chart that shows exactly how taxes have been creeping up without our knowledge:
"CAUSE: Local city, county, and school officials are NOT lowering tax rates to offset massive appraisal spikes...and 90% of Texans do NOT vote in May's local elections.
EFFECT: Massive property tax increases. Tax levies are rising 2-3 times faster than household income (the cost of local government is consuming more & more of your income)." - Ross Kecseg
Image credit: Texas Comptroller of  Public Accounts
In Wylie, our tax rate sits at 86.89 cents per $100 assessed valuation. We have by far the highest tax rate in Collin County, and from my last check, also in North Texas.

The article does the math for you, "Last year, Wylie brought in $1.168 million more in property taxes on existing property than it did in 2014, despite lowering its tax rate by one cent...." The city is not in the business of making a profit, so they are spending it, folks. Instead of giving us a four cent tax decrease, which these figures would have supported, they tossed us one cent. They spent the rest.

Furthermore, I do not believe that our past council members, and possibly a few current ones, have been financially savvy enough to figure out they have been milking us year over year. However, the bean counting administrators are savvy, which is why their annual PowerPoint presentations neglect to point out these facts during budget season.

Instead, the city manager and finance department paint grim pictures depicting the city on a bond brink, and then act out the cursory wonderment charade, of just how they are going to cover all those pesky expenses every department (conveniently) thought up. Oh no's they simply cannot give the taxpayers their money back. Ever.

Suddenly, the police and fire department heartstrings are pulled, and we are left with the very unsound decision of adding four new PD slots to the budget, when four to five slots have yet to be filled in the past year, which is exactly the kind of crap that took place during the last budget season.

As far as I can tell, there is only one person on council who understands this concept, but they were berated during the budget meetings last year for daring to suggest we did not need to set aside funds for four additional PD slots. Go figure.

This is how the city pilfers the money away from tax payers, increases expenses and hides the balance in the contingency fund, only to pull it out later to spend on other frivolous items. They do it year after year, and Wylie is not alone in the conspiracy to part you from your money.

As I've said for years, the city is on a spending spree, and they either don't want you to recognize it, or those voting on the budget simply don't understand it themselves.

Though the property values are anticipated to increase on average 11% in Wylie, pinkie promise the city will toss us another half cent or full cent decrease this year, and continue to rake in the excess.

Wylie citizens are the cash cow, and they are being milked.