Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick might be a creepy, fast-talking, hyperbolic, controversy-seeking opportunist, but, uh, where were we going with this? Oh, yeah. He really, really sucks.
Patrick and other state officials like to talk about how they are helping common folks by pushing for lower property taxes and boosting pay for teachers. During his current reelection campaign, Patrick is telling anyone who will listen that reducing taxes is among his top priorities, unlike those tax-loving liberals.
Oftentimes, and particularly in politics, words are designed to deceive the naïve and to cover up the fact that the speaker is fibbing through his pinched little face. Patrick touted a tax plan in 2017 that made a nice soundbite for him but offered no actual relief. His true interests are morality issues, such as telling schools how to label their bathrooms and telling women how to handle their reproductive systems.
The Republican-led Legislature has pushed the burden of school finance from the state to the county level for many years, expecting property taxpayers to foot most of the bill. If you own property in Tarrant County, the bulk of your tax money goes to cash-strapped schools. In July, the Houston Chronicle reported that the state paid for about 75 percent of school costs in the 1950s. That percentage has slowly and steadily dropped over the years. Local taxpayers now foot about 60 percent of the costs. Meanwhile, Patrick and his conservative buddies brag in campaign commercials about wanting to cut property taxes even as they make it nearly impossible for that to happen.
Some taxpayers get angry about the increases and holler at county officials. Well, one of them decided to holler back.
County Judge Glen Whitley is hardly an anarchist. He’s a quiet-spoken guy who typically toes the conservative line. We were a little surprised, then, to hear that Whitley threw shade at state legislators. Speaking to local business leaders at an event earlier this month, Whitley described how state lawmakers reduce the state’s contributions to schools while simultaneously blaming local officials for increased property tax bills to handle the shortfalls.
As reported by Bud Kennedy in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Whitley decried a portion of the current state budget that forecasts 14 percent increases in local school tax to pay for anticipated costs.
“Property values and the estimates of local tax collections on which they are based shall be increased by 7.04 percent for tax year 2017 and by 6.77 percent in tax year 2018,” the budget line reads. This means that to pay for their wish lists, state legislators forecasted increases in property taxes and then criticized local officials for raising taxes. That’s a real Patricky thing to do. But, really, does anyone in this state think Patrick has the best interests of anyone at heart other than himself and his political ambition?