First, we learn that Texas City, College of the Mainland and Galveston County all agreed to rebate tax revenue to Land Tejas, the Lago Mar developer, for an additional 10 years beyond their original agreement ("County extends agreement to fund Lago Mar TIRZ," The Daily News, Nov. 8). In addition to what it will cost Texas City and COM, this change will cost county taxpayers a whopping $42.5 million.
Three weeks later, we learn that Land Tejas has been pursuing new financing ("Lago Mar developer turns to unconventional financing, more rooms planned for island," The Daily News, Dec. 1). Obviously from the timing, Land Tejas needed the additional financial backing of Texas City, COM and the county before it could get the financing it needs. Rather than holding Land Tejas's feet to the fire, the taxing entities decided to bail it out.
Could an ordinary property owner who isn’t financially sound enough for a new project expect this kind of relief? No. The average Joe must face market realities alone. And that is what the taxing authorities should have let happen here as well. If Land Tejas couldn't develop Lago Mar without another bailout from the region's other taxpayers, that’s not our problem. County residents could've used the $42.5 million for parks, roads, libraries and other public improvements.