If you haven’t seen your 2021 property value yet, you should probably sit down. (Look it up at www.galvestoncad.org). After you finish cursing and throwing things, come back and finish reading.

Remember, there are two parts to the equation — property value and tax rate.

Property value: The Galveston Central Appraisal District has the job of correctly assessing property values. Whatever you think about past values, 2021 represents a paradigm shift. The increases are jaw-dropping. It’s up to you to work with the appraisal district to arrive at an appropriate value for your property. I encourage every property owner to make your case in earnest. It’s a big deal.

Tax rate: The other part is the tax rate charged by the various public entities. Your bill shows the entities taxing your property. You absolutely have a say in the tax rates. The elected officials are just like you and me (commissioners, council members, school board, etc.). They don’t want to hurt property owners, but they also have agendas sitting in front of them. You must tell them what’s important and where to draw the line.

Communicating with them is just as important, if not more so, than trotting down to the appraisal district to debate your property value. Please, today, pick up the phone or email them and let them know your thoughts on the tax rates. Your list should include the state legislature (re: school tax regulations). Ask them what they intend to do.

With that said, unless your elected officials act, the increase in tax bills is poised to be nothing short of historic. This could represent an existential threat to many big and small businesses, rental owners, tenants, as well as homeowners. This is a serious threat to our community.

As a commissioner for the Galveston Navigation District No. 1, I represent one of the taxing entities that appears on many of your tax bills. If your property is subject to our tax, the commissioners want you to know we have your back. Once the property valuations are settled, we intend to adjust our tax rate to be essentially revenue neutral as compared to 2020.

I cannot promise that our taxes will never go up — that’s not reality. Public or private, we all have wants and needs. However, it would be inappropriate to allow such extraordinary changes in property values to instantly skyrocket the tax bills. The answer cannot be more, more, more. For our part, the navigation district commissioners will not allow it.

Finally, I call on the other taxing entities to come out and publicly respond in a similar manner ASAP. Let everyone know what you intend to do.

Ted Farmer is a commissioner for the Galveston Navigation District No. 1.


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(11) comments

Jack Cross

Mr. Farmer is 100 percent correct. In spite of the appraisal increases, your taxes don't necessarily have to increase, The taxing bodies have control of setting the tax rate. However public schools are another story and they are 55 percent of your taxes across the state. Here the state sets the amount per student and caps the tax rate at $1.17 per $100.00 valuation. With the hands of school trustees tied. The school board takes their share of funding from the property values in the school taxing district. That leaves a big pot of tax values that the state takes to reduce their share of school funding, thus shifting this burden onto the backs of local property owners. Across the state, this is about $7 billion dollars plus another $3 Billion for Robin hood.; This is why your property taxes are increasing. The state is depending heavily on property taxes, even though the state constitution prohibits a state property taxes. Why? With all the kids coming across the border and federal law mandated they be educated regardless of legal status and state law requiring equal funding, there is a lot of property poor school districts and they are growing. Guess what, it cost more to educate poor kids and those speaking limited English.

The state is always going to fix this, but really they can't as long as these laws are in place. But they could as least tell taxpayers the truth.

Charles Douglas

This is what I have long admired about "Cross* Hardee*Ponce*&Miller" ..they are going to dig and mine the truth even if someone or something is trying to beat them away from it! Great Info Mr. CROSS, even though it makes me angry! Thanks anyway!

Charlotte O'rourke

Ted, Concise and very clear explanation. Thanks for taking the time to write the editorial.

Jack, I agree telling the truth is the most important step - only then can we debate and decide what to do with the truth.

Jack Cross

Charlotte, all I was doing was add detail to what Mr, Farmer correctly said.

Think about this. All these years that you have seen the Governor and other4 state officials run on reducing property taxes, they can't reduce any or these taxes if you exclude schools because the state doesn't set the tax rate, If you want to lower your taxes, protest when the tax rate is set.

I Submitted a letter to the editor about a week ago, it is a two part. The second part will explain the school tax system. Here is a preview. Bottom line,is the state benefits from high appraisals. The school boards can't touch these appraisal increase values to lower the tax rate ( lile all the other taxing bodies can) The state is taking these values to fund the increase in property poor school districts.

It all starts at the border, leading to schools must enroll these students.

There is no fix to this as long as the border is open and schools must enroll these kids. Why do you think all these kids are coming here.? they are the ticket and you and me are paying for it. Why do you thing there is the push for the money to follow the student? People are fleeing public schools by the droves. Wake up people.

Who would support any of thes?

Jack Cross

Me and Gene Boyd use to sneak out on Mr. Farmers pier at Farmers point on Offits Bayou during the 1940's Mr. Farmer knew were out there and never ran us off. He was a good man as are all the Farmers. I went to Ball High with Donald Farmer.

We caught a lot of fish off that pier. Believe it or not we actually caught a tarpon. Back then, Tarpon was caught of pier C at the time, the Old Seaplane docks just before you cross the Texas A&M bridge and a few entered offits Bayou

Gary Miller

Worth less every year but costing more every year. ISD = public schools? Nothing independent about ISD schools since the state took them over. ISD schools are the ones the law requires to educate illegal migrant children. Eliminate ISD schools and give public owned property to private school management. School taxes bought the property and school taxpayers own the property they funded for education. Private school students are cheated by not getting any state funding. Their parents pay school taxes but they get none of it.

Jack Cross

It is a sad state of affair when you have to have police in schools. How did we live 200 years without law enforcement in public schools. What happened to discipline ?

Why are families fleeing these schools? Why is the cost of public schools going through the roof? When taxpayers taxes are going sky high and all these problems are existing, doesn't common sense demand the truth and take action to stop the bleed. It is easier for state elected officials to be political correct than tell the truth.

State leaders know the answer to all these questions. Is a big part of it because it is expensive to educate the poor of the world?

Bill Sterchi

Dead on Jack. The Schools are deplorable and we - the taxpayers - pay a pretty penny for it. The system is broken and throwing more money of ours into it, just won't fix it. The few completely dedicated, honest and remarkable "TEACHERS" we have, deserve the very best we have to offer so our children will benefit from it. However, the point you make about Police in the schools is entirely the truth. Hooligans have taken over and displaced those who are trying to learn. Even the detention centers have a better rating than our public schools - think about that.

Carlos Ponce

"How did we live 200 years without law enforcement in public schools[?]" Corporal punishment.

At first it was done in the classroom so everybody could see and hear.

Then it went out in the hall. The sound of pops echoing through them. Everyone could hear.

Then you had to have a witness because students' complaints.

Then it was in a principal's office. No one saw or heard.

Then parents complained. Schools took out corporal punishment. And now we have police.

Most of the students are wonderful and want to learn. But there's always a few who push it too far. The sound of "pops" kept the rest in line.

Proverbs 13:24

Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Proverbs 23:13-15

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

Proverbs 22:15

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

Proverbs 29:15

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

Ted Gillis

Gary, nobody listens to your blathering on this anymore. There is no way in hell that private school operators are gong to take over management of public school buildings. Who cares or gives a rats behind about private school students anyway. It’s the parents choice to send their child to a private school, so they should live with the consequences. If the parents have buyers remorse, too bad. Quit mining the public school’s resources just because of the private school’s inability to perform and provide for their own students. Private schools should create a better business model without looking for public tax dollars.

Public tax dollars are for public schools only.

James Lippert

Mr. Farmer is 100% on target. Galveston County has lagged behind the surrounding counties where tax rate of the various "entities" has soared while the assigned tax values have gone comically high. If Galveston county is to walk the walk and talk the talk of being "Conservative Republican" it must act like a fiscal conservative.

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