Opinion: Taxes and the right to complain?

by | Aug 23, 2018 | Opinion

My Dad used to say, and probably still would, ‘Don’t complain unless you’re willing to do something about it.’

I’m pretty sure that he didn’t coin the phrase, so this is probably not a new expression to you. You may have been told, or heard, the same idiom.

This column, however, is not about my Dad. This is about getting out from behind your screen of choice and becoming part of the process.

One of the mediums this local newspaper uses in social media. We use it to break news, draw people to current stories and look for feedback and ideas about future stories.

When we post something about your community using social media, the feedback that is generated gives us an idea of what is ‘important’ based on the volume of comments.

If the post involves local property taxes, it’s interesting to read the comments that begin to emerge. In some cases just using the ‘t’ word evokes displeasure, annoyance, frustration, complaints of all kinds and even threats of For Sale signs.

As a newspaper, it’s our job to keep you informed about what’s going on in your community, and local taxes is just part what we write about. This is not a new topic to our staff writers. The property tax story life cycle begins in early May and continues until late September. We start and finish this life cycle every year. Every year.

What’s that got to do with complaining? A lot I contend.

Whether this is the first year you’ve been alarmed about property taxes, or this topic has been on your radar for years, I have a question.

Have you stepped beyond the complaining stage?

If you have, congratulations, you have become part of the process and exercised your right to make your voice heard.

Maybe you called your local councilmember or trustee to express your opinion about your property tax bill. Maybe you called your school superintendent, city manager or mayor to express concerns or voice questions. Maybe you sent an email, text, or even mailed a letter you wrote to go on the ‘record’ about your feelings in this matter.

If so, I applaud you. It probably wasn’t that hard and I’m sure the sky did not fall.

But here’s the deal. How many people do you know that did the same? Probably not a whole bunch.

I’ll wager though, that if you read our social media pages, you’ll see a whole lot of opinions about property taxes. Some founded, some not.

Don’t you think it’s time to put up or……?

Look, I’m just as guilty of complaining as the next person. But if I listen to my father’s voice I know I could and should do more.

This is property tax season for cities. All you have to do is look through some of the pages of this week’s newspaper and you’ll find some Notice of Tax Rate and Budget Hearing Notices for a few communities we serve.

If you don’t like what you see, what’s your next step?

As my Dad would say……

 

For more stories like this see the Aug. 23 issue or subscribe online.

 

By Chad Engbrock • [email protected]

0 Comments

Related News

We’re global now

We’re global now

No matter how hard we try, we real­ly can’t avoid one another. We live in a world where what takes place some­where else on the globe has a very good chance of affecting us, along with many others. The pandemic, of course, is a useful – if sobering – ex­ample. A virus...

read more
Legislators can help prevent trafficking

Legislators can help prevent trafficking

The COVID-19 pan­demic has produced too many tragedies to tally, but here is one that does not get talked about enough: It has worsened conditions that leave children and youth especially vulnerable to com­mercial sexual exploitation, a human trafficking crime. Human...

read more
Texans urged to roll up their sleeves

Texans urged to roll up their sleeves

Gov. Greg Abbott and other Texas leaders are rolling up their sleeves to get the COVID-19 vaccine and to encourage the public to follow suit. “I will never ask any Texan to do something that I’m not willing to do myself,” Abbott said before getting vaccinated at a...

read more
Accusations rock Attorney General’s office

Accusations rock Attorney General’s office

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is battling back against seven top aides who accuse him of bribery and abuse of office. The aides delivered the accu­sations in a letter to the agency’s human resources director. The Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV obtained and...

read more
Pandemic messes with Texas, prompts new message

Pandemic messes with Texas, prompts new message

Even during a pandemic, it’s best to not mess with Texas. Texas Department of Trans­portation officials noticed more personal protective equipment -- face masks, wipes and gloves -- on the side of roads and high­ways, so they called in the big guns for a new round of...

read more
School year brings an Apple for students, too

School year brings an Apple for students, too

Students across Texas returned to campuses last week as schools and universities scrambled to put into place new lesson plans that best accommodate a pandemic. For many school districts, this meant greatly expanding the technological resources of their students to...

read more
Texas tries nation’s first virtual criminal trial

Texas tries nation’s first virtual criminal trial

A Texan’s speeding ticket put her in the legal history books last week. To combat the backlog in criminal cases created by the pandemic, a Travis County justice of the peace conducted the nation’s first virtual criminal trial. The case was livestreamed on YouTube, and...

read more
This is a time of testing for all of us

This is a time of testing for all of us

A few weeks ago, The New York Times ran an article noting that with the U.S. preoccupied by the coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, and massive unemployment, “its competitors are moving to fill the vacuum, and quickly.” Russia, China, North Korea, Iran....

read more