Dave McElwee of the Tarrant Alliance for Responsible Government presented a petition with 43,000 names, forcing commissioners to either voluntarily approve a property tax freeze for seniors and the disabled or, almost certainly, put the issue to voters on the November ballot. Commissioners, of course, would rather eat glass than reduce the amount of money generated for county services. They’ll no doubt check every name on the petition, disqualify any that aren’t registered voters, and hope the petition winds up short of the needed 5 percent of registered voters. The last thing county officials want is a vote – similar freezes have been passed overwhelmingly in other cities and counties. “They don’t want this to happen,” McElwee said. “They enjoy those fat checks coming in from taxpayers.”
While addressing commissioners, the tough Irishman blasted the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s July 17 editorial that characterized seniors as selfish shirkers who already get tax breaks yet would rather pass along even more of a burden to younger folks (Static said essentially the same thing on Dec. 22, 2004, when it dubbed the Greatest Generation the “Whiniest Generation” and urged people in their 30s and 40s to form a large voter bloc, freeze their own taxes, and pass the tax burden on to pimply-faced teen-agers now working part-time at Taco Bell.) After his speech to commissioners, McElwee, being interviewed by a tv reporter, denounced the entire news media for ignoring the seniors’ petition drive, as if there were a conspiracy to keep the blue-hairs down. McElwee overlooked the fact that Fort Worth Weekly told its readers all about the petition nine weeks ago (“Senior Freeze-Out,” May 10, 2006). But, you know, seniors forget sometimes … .
It’s no wonder commissioners hate tax freezes – after the tough grandpa left, commissioners went on to other business, including considering a requested tax abatement for a new convention center hotel and a salary increase for county employees. Ah, well. No rest for the weary taxpayer.