|Sent on:||Tuesday, October 30, 2012 11:21 PM|
Travis County Taxpayers Union highlights TPPF findings on excessive local government spending
Oct 30th, 2012
Austin, TX --
TCTU Analyst Bob Parmalee has compiled important information on local spending.
New data released by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, through the effortsof Talmadge Heflin, Director for Fiscal Policy, reveals that Travis Countyis now the highest taxed county in Texas. Bob Parmelee, an analyst for theTravis County Taxpayers Union, suggests Austin and Travis County sank intothis abyss as a result of derelict spending by local governments and by aseries of bond issue follies approved by an electorate systematicallymisinformed by special interests. "Austin's exorbitant property taxes crushour most vulnerable citizens in poor and middle class neighborhoods in theform of increased rents," Parmelee said. "Many who loyally cast rubber stampvotes for local tax and waste politicians have been deceived. Perhaps themost egregious example of wasteful spending is the Cap-Metro 'mass transit'system in which Austin taxpayers now provide a yearly $20,000 subsidy perpassenger."
Peggy Venable, the Texas Chairman of the Americans for Prosperity, views thenew report with alarm. She said, "Travis County politicians have gone wildspending and incurring debt. We at AFP have long been concerned about therapid increase in property taxes all over Texas, but Austin and TravisCounty are the worst. Property taxes based on appraisals end up taxingunrealized values and ultimately drive many homeowners into foreclosure andout of their homes." Ms Venable added, "Local officials seem to be hidingbehind the skirts of appraisers who have raised Travis County propertyvalues to the highest level in Texas as pointed out in the TPPF study. Thisallows politicians to raise taxes without technically increasing taxationrates."
The chairman of the Del Valle Community Coalition, Richard Franklin made thefollowing impassioned observation after reading the TPPF report. "We live ina modern day tale of two realities. One is occupied by those who have andhave no problem paying more and asking others to pay more, so they can saythey live in a progressive utopia. They provide incentives and rebates toany and all, to show how progressive they are, with no thought given to thedevastating effects their vanity projects and other extravagances have onthe Have Nots, the low to moderate income folk, and the folks on fixedincomes. The Have Nots live in another reality, struggling to make endsmeet, deciding what necessity is needed the least. The Have Nots pay alarger percent of their incomes by far that the Haves, yet there appears tobe neither compassion nor empathy for the plight of the less fortunate.Growth has not paid for itself In Travis County and Austin while costs(taxes and energy) continue to rise, driving the heart and soul out of thevery culture that makes our community unique."
Rosemary Edwards, Chairman of the Travis County Republican Party, lamentsthat Austin's problems are not limited to excessive taxation. "Excessiveenergy costs are also crippling household budgets due to an unwarranted loveaffair with unaffordable (solar) energy and lack of fiscal discipline. InJanuary, an Austin Statesman analysis found "an estimated $150 million to$180 million in annual spending by Austin Energy unrelated to generating orselling electricity. Moreover the Austin City Council has smuggled between$50 and $80 million of city spending into Austin Energy's budget. Thisallows uncontrolled city spending to be dishonestly presented as energy rateincreases rather than additional tax hikes."
The bottom line, according to Don Zimmerman, Founder and Treasurer of TravisCounty Taxpayers Union SPAC, is that voters have only way one to truly beheard when it comes to the unsustainable spending we now suffer: Voters mustreject all spending increases and every single bond issue. Zimmerman says,"We have to vote against Proposition 1's outrageous 63% property tax rateincrease, in which special corporate interests demand higher, unaffordablelocal property taxes on the backs of poor Austin homeowners, small businessowners, and even renters. For the first time, taxes are no longer apartisan issue - it is now those profiting from taxes, versus those payingunaffordable tax bills. "
For more information, contact:
Bob Parmelee,[masked], [address removed]