OPEN LETTER TO PARKER COUNTY TEXAS

By John E. (Jack) Cavenah Sr.

Wasting your money...

Wasting your money…

Our local school systems are financed through the collection of property taxes on the basis of Value as appraised by the Parker County Appraisal District (PCAD).  The same is true of our county roads, community colleges, regional hospital districts, EMS districts, volunteer fire departments in the form of subsidies, and many other services too numerous to mention here.  This is not cheap as you very well know each time you look at your appraisal and write the check for the payment of the taxes on your property.

Why then would the PCAD Chief Appraiser allow an agricultural exemption to be “passed” from one owner to another when property changes ownership? (in direct violation of state mandated guidelines)  This causes Parker County to lose millions of dollars in lost revenue each and every year. This Chief appraiser also has granted appraisal reductions amounting to many millions of dollars in lost revenue, at a time when according to Texas State Property Publications indicate property in Parker and surrounding counties is increasing in value at a rate far surpassing the rest of the state. See link below.

(www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/proptax/cadreports/asr/parker.ch02b.html )  This link also addresses the poor performance of PCAD in complying with state guidelines on appraisal techniques.  I don’t know the actual date of the report, it is not listed.

I went over 50 random properties that have received reductions in evaluation ranging from $270.00 to $225,270.00, and the tax loss on the $2,038,150.00 reduction on just these 50 random properties is $50,725.45. These properties also enjoy agricultural exemptions, so the true loss of revenue is really much higher.

Are you now getting a little clearer picture of why you are being taxed to and beyond the limits of your budget?

One think that the folks at PCAD, who are in complete control of the amount of revenue is available to this county would be just a little more conscientious in the awarding of tax breaks in the form of cutting appraisals which have existed for years on open or so called “agricultural land”.  After all, what can you possibly do to the land to earn a reduction in value?  When was the last time your taxes went down because your property received a lower appraisal?  Never?  Mine hasn’t either.

My complaint to the TSLR has yet to bear fruit, but I will not, repeat not, just quit trying to bring some form of fair taxation and lawful application of the State mandated rules, which PCAD so cavalierly disregards.

Hopefully we will get a new (different) County Judge in the next election, one who will make the effort to reign in county employees who refuse to follow the rules and cost this county millions in lost revenue.  It is within Judge Riley’s scope of influence and authority to alleviate this situation; he just refuses to do so.

The “GOOD ‘OLE BOY CLUB” is alive and deeply entrenched in Parker County Texas, and they are picking your pocket on a daily basis.  Don’t like that scenario?  Vote the incumbents out, and start fresh with someone who doesn’t care about more than their fame and public image than they do about you and I.

JackCavenah-1See ‘Open Letter to County Officials’ written by Jack Cavenah.

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4 responses

  1. No matter what is financed with our property taxes it makes me mad as hell to think that I’m paying a couple thousand dollars in taxes yet my next door neighbor can get a goat and put it in the back yard and get an Ag exemption and pay $400….plus have a free lawn mower.

  2. That situation will not change by replacing just the County judge. The problem is much deeper than that. The tax situation is but a symptom of the desease that has reached epidemic purportions throughout Parker County Government. The very county officials who should be guarding against thsi crap (and that’s what it is) are a big part of the problem. Most of them have “hobby farm” Ag. exemptions, so it would not behoove them to solve the problem, and then have to pay their fair share of this county’s tax burden. I smell seven day old fish again. do you smell it?

  3. Senator_Blutarsky | Reply

    Overall Texas DEBT is out of control, despite the lies and obfuscations in Austin –

    Tell ‘em I ain’t got it: Texas debt hits $341 billion-

    By Jon Cassidy | Watchdog.org

    HOUSTON — A sobering new report on state debt shows that Texas has been lying to itself about its fiscal health.

    Texas has the third highest total state debt in the country, at $341 billion, once you count the colossal debts that politicians have been keeping off the balance sheets.

    In total indebtedness, Texas surpasses Rust Belt black holes such as Illinois and Ohio, and trails just California and New York.

    In per capita terms, the state is middle-of-the-pack, with $13,083 owed by every man, woman and child. The report by State Budget Solutions shows that while Texas isn’t so profligate as the other large states, neither is it “the nation’s shining example for fiscal responsibility,” as a spokesman for Attorney General Greg Abbott recently put it.

    Combined, the 50 states have run up $5.1 trillion in debt to pensioners and retirees, as well as bondholders and the federal government, according to the report. That doesn’t include $3.7 trillion in outstanding municipal bonds nationwide.

    While every state but Vermont has a balanced budget requirement, they have all evaded that requirement by systematically underfunding pensions. That has allowed politicians to get a lot more government than they were willing to pay for.

    For the last decade, the pension debt problem has been metastasizing out of view — off of state balance sheets and obscured by official figures that misrepresent the depth of the hole.

    The official figure for all Texas pension debt as of Nov. 2012 was $43.8 billion, according to a report by State Comptroller Susan Combs.

    The state’s real pension debt is closer to $244.1 billion, according to the SBS report. Add in $55.4 billion for retiree health care and $41.3 billion in bonds and other official debt and you get the state total.

    It’s been easy for union officials and other defenders of the status quo to scoff at figures like those in the SBS report as apparent exaggerations. But that will change after June 30, when new pension accounting rules go into effect, requiring officials to treat unfunded pension debt much like they’d treat their other debts, such as bonds.

    To understand the two kinds of accounting, you don’t need to be an expert. Just think of $100 you loaned your rich uncle, and another $100 you loaned your brother-in-law, the degenerate gambler.

    You can go ahead count that loan to your uncle as money in the bank, but you wouldn’t think of that other loan the same way. If someone offered to buy the IOU off you for $50, you might well take it.

    That $50 is the real value, or market value, of the debt.

    In this case, the pension funds are your rich uncle, but they’re pretending to be your degenerate brother-in-law when it suits them, by listing their debt to you as $50. That’s what all the arguing about discount rates is about.

    For planning purposes, it’s a little different. If your uncle is going to pay you back in 10 years with the proceeds from a CD, he probably just cares about the $85 or so he needs to buy the CD.

    The SBS report calculates pension debt using market value, or the same rules that corporations have to use in accounting for their pensions. It’s the rough equivalent of valuing that $100 at the $85 cost of the CD.

    Unlike your degenerate brother-in-law, the pension funds — backed by the power of taxation — are very close to a sure thing, so the value of their IOUs can’t just be lopped in half, like his.

    In fact, when the squeeze comes, almost every government screws over its bondholders before it stiffs its pensioners, so a pension is generally thought to be even more secure than a bond.

    Now, for planning purposes, the old numbers have some use. If Texas could find $43.8 billion overnight to deposit in its pension funds — about half its annual budget — then officials could rightly say they were back on track, even under the new accounting rules.

    But the new rules don’t allow pension funds to continue pretending they’re earning a return on money they don’t have. Pension funds — and by extension, taxpayers and government workers — are actually going to have come up with the big, scary figures in the SBS report (even more, in fact, if you want to count every dollar going out the door without any of this funny discounting math).

    They don’t have a plan to do this. The two biggest pension funds in the state aren’t even getting enough in annual payments to cover the “interest” on their unfunded liabilities, putting them on a course for insolvency.

    As the most recent annual report from the Employees Retirement System of Texas puts it, this debt “is expected to grow indefinitely.”

    Or, as the Austin American-Statesman editorializes, “here in Texas, the retirement funds for teachers and state workers are in good shape. Changing public worker benefits is all the rage, but there is no reason to change Texas’ state pension funds.”

    This is simply untrue. According to data from the big pension funds, government workers and the state need to increase their annual payments by almost 30 percent, just to get on a 31-year course to being debt-free.

    It’s standard practice for pension funds to aim at paying off their debts over 30 years, but even that target is less than fiscally responsible.

    For the present generation to pay its own debts, it would need to schedule a repayment period of no longer than the average remaining period of employment for current workers, which is 12-13 years at most agencies.

    Texas’ total debt ranks eighth as a percentage of its budget, putting it next to New Mexico and New Jersey, which are both drowning in pension debt.

    But there is some good news in the report. As a percentage of the state economy, Texas’ debt ranks 39th.

    That’s because, unlike so many of the others with large debts, Texas has a booming economy and a relatively small state government.

    Without a correction in course by the state Legislature, bankruptcy becomes inevitable in the long run, while in the short run, the likelihood increases with each year that the next recession will be enough to ruin the funds’ finances.

    Each passing year, the sacrifices required — tax hikes and/or benefit cuts — get more severe.

    As more than one actuary has explained, an underfunded pension plan is like a car without shocks driving over a road as bumpy as the Dow. You’ll feel every pothole, and a good one can wreck the car.

    Contact Jon Cassidy at jon@watchdog.org or @jpcassidy000.

    The post Tell ‘em I ain’t got it: Texas debt hits $341 billion appeared first on Watchdog.org.

  4. Here is one reason for our debt. And this is just 15 properties out of 13,883 with ag. exemptions. Can you imagine what the total would be?
    HOLLY RIDGE and WHITE SETTLEMENT RD
    TAX HAVEN THROUGH AGRICULTURAL EXEMPTIONS

    Address Owner Property ID Acres Market Value Exemption Taxable PAID
    189 Holly Ridge C. Chapin R000010886 9.006 $180,120 $179,650 $470 $9.73 Should have paid $3,690.30 underpaid by $3680.57
    200 Holly Ridge A. Leondar R000010926 5.399 $107,980 $107,440 $540 $11.19
    Should have paid $2,212.29 underpaid by $2201.10
    201 Holly Ridge E. Via R000079342 4.999 $ 99,980 $ 99,480 $500 $10.35
    Should have paid $2.048.39 underpaid by $2038.04
    250 Holly Ridge C. Lawley R000010923 6.450 $129,000 $128,350 $650 $13.46
    Should have paid $2,644.85 underpaid by $2631.14
    352 Holly Ridge M. Pierce R000010921 9.460 $189,200 $188,250 $950 $19.66
    Should have paid $3,876.33 underpaid by $3859.56
    404 Holly Ridge C. Smith R000071307 8.126 $162,250 $161,710 $810 $16.77
    Should have paid $3,324.18 underpaid by $3307.41
    698 Holly Ridge C. Sponsler R000010913 5.440 $108,800 $108,260 $540 $11.19
    Should have paid $2.229.09 underpaid by $2217.90
    698 Holly Ridge C. Sponsler R000073988 4.570 $ 91,400 $ 90,940 $460 $9.53
    Should have paid $1,872.60 underpaid by $1863.07 $21,890.03 $1,064,080 $101.88

    This group of 8 properties under paid by $21,788.15
    =============================================================================================

    15331 W/S Rd. J. Martinec R000010894 6.964 $139,280 $138,920 $360 $7.45
    Should have paid $2,853.57 underpaid by $2846.12
    15331 W/S Rd. J. Martinec R000010896 9.329 $186,580 $185,650 $930 $19.26
    Should have paid $3,822.65 underpaid by $3803.39
    15435 W/S Rd. R. Elston R000010892 3.569 $ 71,380* $ 71,020 $360 $9.45
    Should have paid $1,462.43 underpaid by $1452.98
    15603 W/S Rd. D. Powell R000010890 5.005 $304,460** 0-0-0-0 $304,460 $6,086. Should have paid $6,086.50 DID NOT UNDERPAY
    15750 W/S Rd. R. Miller R000005596 14.000 $280,000 $279,270 $730 $15.11
    Should have paid $5,736.64 underpaid by $5721.53
    15753 W/S Rd. G. Forbess R000010887 9.060 $181,200 $180,290 $910 $18.83
    Should have paid $3,712.43 underpaid by $3693.60
    .331 Mesa Grande A. Laurel R000070611 7.871 $157,420 $156,630 $830 $16.36
    Should have paid $3,225.22 underpaid by $1589.22 $26,899.44 $1,011,780 $6,172.96
    * Evaluation in year 2010 was $101,380 (reduction of $30,000)
    ** Evaluation in year 2010 was $315,560 (reduction of $11,100)

    This group of 7 properties under paid by $22,726.48

    Total loss of taxable property value of these 15 properties is $2,075,860, and a loss of $44,616.51 in lost tax revenue. Not one of these properties would qualify for
    an agriculture exemption if they were evaluated properly per the applicable statutes, ie: must produce a saleable agriculture product. Every one of these properties fall into the “hobby farm” category per Section 183 of the IRS Regulation, which prohibits the use of a non-producing agricultural exempt property from being used to evade paying property taxes.

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