And if we rent, it’s something our landlord takes care of.
But in both cases, we’re still paying — we just don’t see a bill from the county tax office.
And it’s a sizable burden. Depending on the size of your home, it can be thousands of dollars per year, just for the city, county, school and community college taxes. That burden also is inching up, as taxing entities feel they’re forced to compensate for decreasing sales tax revenues.
Taxing entities may see their own proposed rate increases as slight, but they add up. To paraphrase Everett Dirkson, a penny on the tax rate here, a penny on the tax rate there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.
In July, CNBC ranked Texas as No. 1 for doing business, but accompanied that ranking with a clear warning about its budget and tax policies.
“The state had to make some sacrifices, and that hurt in some categories,’ it said. “Texas comes in 26th in education and 35th in quality of life. And while the state held the line on income taxes, the overall tax burden — including property and sales taxes — is high.”
That burden could eventually send the state plummeting in the rankings.
Those property taxes are set at the local level, by officials who can and should be far more responsive to our individual concerns than politicians in Washington are.
After all, they’re our neighbors.
But they can’t respond to our concerns if we fail to voice them. So each entity has constitutionally mandated hearings about its budget and tax rate. In those hearings, members of the public are afforded time to speak.
Here’s a brief calendar for our area.
The Tyler Independent School District will hold a workshop meeting on Monday. The board may or may not discuss its budget. But its budget and tax rate are set for a hearing and a vote on Aug. 23.
The city of Tyler will roll out its budget on Wednesday. It will have a public hearing on the budget and tax rate on Aug. 22, and a vote to adopt those on Sept. 12.
Smith County has scheduled two public hearings, on Aug. 21 and Aug. 28. Commissioners Court will vote on the budget and tax rate following the public hearing portion of the Aug. 28 meeting.
And Tyler Junior College has set public hearings for Aug. 9 and Aug. 16, with a vote on the tax rate and budget slated for Aug. 23.