Vote Local, Vote Early, Vote Now!
by Shane W, Contributor
Texas Family Project
“In the U.S. almost nobody votes in local elections”.
-CityLab Report As Texas passes more and more costs and responsibilities onto local municipalities, there’s more reason than ever to buck that trend by voting in this May’s local elections.
Your local officials are listening, it’s time to let them hear your voice!
Your City, Your Taxes
Right now, the local tax burden falls disproportionately on Texans who aren’t doing so well. If we look at large Texas localities like Fort Worth and Dallas we can see that wealthy and commercial property owners pay a much smaller fraction of property taxes than average Texas residents.
Dallas Morning News found Dallas county property values for middle class homeowners rose the most between 2015 and 2016. There is now a vast disparity in property tax increase between residential and commercial properties.
With taxes, some expenses allow you to lower your taxable income, which can put you in a lower tax bracket and thus lower your overall tax payment.
At a federal level, tax deductions are skewed to help landlords first, homeowners second, and renters last. In addition to the mortgage interest deduction, landlords can also deduct expenses on any maintenance, advertisement, or management they do for the home. They also don’t pay any self-employment taxes unless they’re extremely wealthy.
According to a Cornell Real Estate Review overview, local governments have the power to help homeowners and renters in a variety of ways, including rent increase caps, building affordable housing, and requiring developers to build a minimal amount of affordable homes into their projects. Local governments also decide whether to give giant tax handouts to large corporate buyers in hopes that they’ll trickle down to average residents. Like all tax handouts, when you eliminate one source of revenue you have to make it up somewhere else. That “somewhere else” will either be more taxes on small businesses and Texas residents, or lowered public services like police, education, and infrastructure.
At the end of the day, only people who reliably vote in local elections have a say in how local governments place the tax burden.
Early Voting is April 22nd through April 30th.
Election Day is May 4th.
See you at the polls!
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