Op-ed: Raising Taxes for a Rainy Day Spend is Frivolous and Irresponsible
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
By: Tammy Betancourt, CAE
Chief Executive Officer, Houston Building Owners and Managers Association
As Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Commissioners Court propose an 11% property tax increase to build a rainy-day fund, area residents and businesses are already shouldering an impossible tax burden.
Houston commercial property taxes have increased a whopping 69% since 2012. It’s important to consider that these taxes are generally passed on directly to tenants, negatively impacting mom and pop businesses, major corporations and all businesses in between. A 69% increase in taxes is a big pill to swallow over such a short period of time. And now Harris County wants another 11%.
The County’s proposed increase comes despite a very strong tax roll of $483 billion in 2019. While businesses, particularly commercial property owners, have watched their property valuations skyrocket over the past five years, municipalities, including Harris County, are cashing in on record high taxes collected on both commercial and residential properties.
From a homeowner who cannot keep up with their increasing property tax bills, to small businesses seeing their hard-earned profits disappear, and big businesses moving jobs out of the area, one thing is clear: the citizens of Harris County want and deserve thoughtful tax decisions by our elected officials. Raising taxes to build a rainy-day fund is irresponsible and frivolous.
As Harris County residents, we pride ourselves on providing a business-friendly environment for entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams. However, rising property taxes have become a nightmare for business owners across the region, hampering their ability to grow their business, hire more people, provide higher paying jobs, and in the worst cases, keep their business operating.
If Harris County hopes to continue to attract new and innovative businesses to the area, the wrong approach is a thoughtless and irresponsible tax rate increase.