It’s getting costly to live here

There was an article in the Nov. 16 edition of the Hays Free Press about parking fines that cost $140. Near the end of the article one of the “lawbreakers,” a Mr. Pettit said, “Living in Kyle is expensive. I pay $200 more per month in property taxes than I did 4 years ago.” For sure the fine is extremely punitive, excessive, and economically depressing, but what he said about living in Kyle being expensive is even more depressing. A Hays Free Press article that appeared this summer had one person of authority stating that same complaint, that Kyle is a desirable place to live and because of that it’s getting to be an expensive place to be. As a result of this popularity, property values have rocketed skyward and will continue to do so by all accounts.

The homestead exemption is $25K off the value of your home, plus 10% if over 65, for the school tax only. And you cannot have your taxes raised more than 10% per year. If taxes as they are now, never increase, and you live in a $100K home after the deduction, you’d pay for that house twice in 31 years and 5 months. Values will always increase unless we become like Detroit. So you will pay for that second house a lot sooner. That’s depressing

It’s a tad different with commercial property; there are no deductions. My three pieces of low-level income-producing commercial property rose in value 25%, 50% and 66%. That’s great if I want to sell it, but crippling if I have to keep it. The appraisal district calculates property value at its cost to rebuild, minus an age coefficient. It’s my experience that they do not take into account the neighborhood. 

  Much of the property I own came forth from my own labor. I was the framer, electrician, plumber, roofer and so on. They are imposing a tax on my labor since that is part of the value, and that’s $2.78 per $100 value on that labor. And it’s an annual income tax on the same labor. Gee, I thought Texas didn’t have an income tax. But try presenting that issue to the distrct when protesting your taxes. 

If you are Joe lunch bucket paying a mortgage on a second-hand house, you may think high taxes on commercial property don’t concern you. If you buy anything in Kyle you are sharing this overbearing tax with the deed owners of that property. High home and apartment rent in this area reflects high property taxes.

Even more you should be extremely concerned with how those six taxing entities listed on your appraisal information are spending that tax income. It’s a given that when any of them have a hand in your pocket they can borrow money to build magnificent building and offices for their “work”. I point to that palatial building that Hays Fire Dept and EMS built a block off the Kyle town square. School districts will NEVER have enough money and they try to get us to vote for a bond about once or twice a year. It’s for the children, they say, and then they raise taxes to pay for grandiose palaces like Lehman High School. And when you reach 65. your school taxes are frozen but the other five taxing entities are not obliged to freeze them. And aren’t we happy that ACC gives a 50% discount for students in the Hays CISD for two years but you pay taxes to them for the rest of your durn lives.

Governor Greg Abbott says Texans pay the 6th highest property taxes in the nation. In this next session, property tax reform is high on the list of subjects for the Legislature to discuss … and reform, maybe. Property tax relief has always been on their lips, but I don’t recall much ever getting done. I guess we’ll wait and see … again.

In the meantime, call your state Senator Donna Campbell at 512-463-0125 and state Rep. Jason Isaac at 512-463-0647.  If you want something done you have to yell. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

rbrickwall@gmail.com

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