As a former mayor, I’ve learned to pay close attention to the actual words candidates use to describe their positions, particularly when it comes to local taxation. So, this direct quote caught my eye in a campaign piece from the millionaire oilman running against our Texas Representative Wayne Faircloth in the Republican primary:
Faircloth’s opponent says we need “iron-clad limits on property tax growth and meaningful relief, while simultaneously working towards eventual abolition.”
My, that sounds good, doesn’t it? Such easy politics. Just say taxes are too high and automatically get some people to vote for you. But what is he really saying?
“We need iron-clad limits on property tax growth …” Who do you think will set the “iron-clad limits?” The State Legislature, of course, and lobbyists. So if you vote for this newcomer from outside our area, you vote for someone who wants to put state regulations above local taxpayer wishes. Austin will set the limits on tax rates, not us. We want to fix our streets, repair our schools, rebuild after a storm?
Sorry, no matter how we vote as local citizens on things we believe are important, Austin will decide. We wouldn’t have any real choice in the matter. To repeat: “ … iron-clad limits …” He and his cronies in Austin will impose limits and restrict our right to decide our own future. As a former mayor of a community, I strongly oppose this concept and I think many residents do as well.
And what would he substitute for property taxes after their “eventual abolition?” Higher sales taxes? A state income tax? Property taxes provide about a third of general fund revenues in Galveston, and they can’t be just wiped out without finding an alternate source of funds.
Faircloth’s opponent is in the oil and gas business, and that industry pays considerable local property taxes. You can understand oil millionaires wanting to do away with property taxes, but do you want to pay higher sales taxes to help them out?
This candidate is running for office to reduce taxes on his corporations and wells, and he cloaks that in the patriotic-sounding concept of rigidly restricting and abolishing local ad valorem taxes. But the substitutes for ad valorem taxes would be more taxes on us individuals.
So, in his own words, he wants to place the state House of Representatives and Senate, and their laws, above the rights of us local residents to make our own choices about taxes.
He also neglects to mention substituting sales and/or income taxes for local property taxes, and that those taxes would disproportionately hit individuals like us while benefiting industries like his.
From my point of view as a former mayor, this is not the policy or the person I favor representing me in the 23rd district. I support incumbent Rep. Wayne Faircloth, who has always fought hard for our local rights, and has come through for Galveston and Chambers counties residents again and again.