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Spending causes taxes to increase

Sept. 9, 2011 at 4:09 a.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

With all the recent discussion surrounding budgets, tax rates and government spending, it seemed appropriate to illuminate a few happenings here in Victoria County, and debunk a few myths.

The first fact that needs establishing is that the Central Appraisal District does not dictate spending by the local taxing authorities. Taxes do not increase because property values increase.

Taxes increase because spending increases. If you are unhappy with your rising property taxes, do not be fooled by the members of the city council, county commissioners court, VISD board of trustees, etc., that it is out of their control. Quite to the contrary, there is no blame to place elsewhere.

With that established, I would like to remind everyone that governments cannot be trusted with money. History has repeatedly shown us that if you allow the government to take a penny from you, they will spend a nickel. For example, take Victoria County. In 2004, Victoria County spent $33.93 million. That number for 2010 was $49.70 million, for an increase of 46.5 percent over six years. Even more problematic is the fact that since 2007, Victoria County has outspent revenues by $7.4 million. If this is unacceptable at the federal level, then why do we embrace it here in our community?

We are constantly led to believe that Victoria County is conservative with its spending, and there are simply no cuts that can be made. To fairly compare county spending, the only factors that must be considered are size and population. There are seven Texas counties that fall within 20 percent of Victoria in both categories. Among them, Victoria is No. 1 in overall spending and No. 2 in spending per capita.

Another interesting fact is that Victoria is one of only three Texas counties that has never lowered its tax rate over the past 15 years. This tells me that budgeting is not based on needs, but rather how much the taxpayers will put up with. Don't allow local elected officials to fool you into thinking every tax increase is for a good cause. When emotion overrules intellect, we all lose.

Matt Ocker, Victoria

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