Equitable increases

Of course the tax burden is increasing. As long as central appraisal districts operate in a universe unrelated to our own, we can expect the tax burden to increase by 10 percent per year, the maximum rate allowable on homesteads. Don’t even think about suggesting the appeal process. I’ve been down that dead-end road. Positions based on logical data are met with the same unassailable put-down: “But the comparables in your class are all greater. Your appraisal can’t be reduced because it would be different from comparables in your class.”

My granddaughter’s fifth-grade math class just reviewed this process. If two numbers are multiplied by the same number, the proportional difference will be the same. If all properties are increased by 10 percent, then piecemeal changes in individual properties upsets the base assumption. Therefore, all appeals fail as the uniform rule of maximum allowable increase is sacrosanct.

Very few investments provide a straight-line annual return of 10 percent. Applying the annual 10 percent increase means that your property value increases by almost 50 percent after four years. It comes just short of doubling in seven years.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m in favor of logical increases for publicly funded services. Let’s apply an equitable increase in the budgets of public services. If appraisal rates increase by 10 percent per year, then let’s increase teachers’ salaries by the same amount. Let’s devote increasing amounts to street repair in Waco. Let’s devote increased funding to addressing the solid waste problem. The list goes on. If we must pay more based on property values, then the value of public services should increase at a comparable rate.

Jay McMillen, Woodway

Voting by mail

I notice few if any citizens attend city and county meetings, even during important tax debates. It may be because they hold the meetings at around 9 a.m. during the week when most people must be at work. Public meetings should be held in the evenings like on a Tuesday or Thursday evening.

Another thing those meetings can do is find ways to save tax money, not just spend it. One great way to save millions of tax dollars is to have vote-by-mail for everyone. Around 30 states allow all people to vote in person or by mail — and not just the elderly or out-of-state military. There are three states that vote only by mail.

If we vote by mail, we do not use the very expensive computer voting machines, hire a lot of people to work at the polls and pay for all the training needed to do so. We not only save a lot of tax money but also no foreign government can break into envelopes with their computers. Why can’t city and county politicians press this huge tax-saving idea in the state legislature and let counties show people how to save taxpayers millions in tax money?

Jim Denton, Gatesville