Image: Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal excitedly discussing his latest method of trying to fool the citizens of this community, so-called “pass throughs,” by trying to make them believe that the County government hasn’t raised spending as much as it has. Precinct 2 County Commissioner candidate Brian Dawson (left) and Doyal’s “chief of staff” jim fredricks (right) join Doyal (in white shirt with back to camera) in excited conversation immediately after the Commissioners Court recessed its “Budget Workshop” until the morning of July 27.
Conroe, July 26 – Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal showed excited glee during the County “Budget Workshops” when he came upon what he obviously now seeks to use as another method of trying to fool the citizens of Montgomery County into believing that he is a “fiscal conservative,” and trying to make Montgomery County citizens, who comprise one of the most conservative electorates in the United States, believe that the County government hasn’t really grown spending very much at all. The newest game is called what Doyal and County Auditor Phyllis Martin, who shouldn’t be engaged in such gamesmanship at all, call “pass-throughs.”
During several points in today’s “Budget Workshop,” Doyal kept reminding the Commissioners Court and the gathered Courtroom crowd, almost all of whom were County employees besides approximately half a dozen conservative political activists watching in horror, that certain budget items in the expenditure budget of the County government were “pass-throughs.” In Doyal’s world of fiscal fiction, a “pass-through” means an expenditure for which the County government receives some revenue from a source other than property taxes collected from County citizens.
Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack explained to the Commissioners Court towards the end of today’s session that 72% of County funds for its $377 million annual Fiscal Year 2018 Budget come from the collection of property taxes from County citizens. Therefore, the so-called “pass-through” revenue could not exceed 28% or $105.56 million of the County government budget. Actually, the number is quite a bit smaller.
Either way, Doyal’s folly of $377 million of annual government spending receives the support of at least $271 million per year of property tax collections which local citizens must pay to the County government.
One of Doyal’s examples of a “pass-through” is that the County government pays $15.8 million per year to operate the Joe Corley Detention Center but also receives $15.8 million per year from the federal government in payment. Other examples for which Doyal tried to justify the expenditures include the County’s jury fund which receives support from the courts’ collection of certain fees.
Since 2000, the Montgomery County has grown 424%, while the population of this community has only grown 84%. During the same time period the federal budget increased 232%. In other words, Montgomery County, one of the most politically conservative places in the United States, has suffered government spending increases that are far worse than those of the federal government!
A comparison of Montgomery County’s government growth to other counties is equally shocking.
Montgomery County’s budget exceeds that of Collin County, which is almost twice as large as Montgomery County. Furthermore, approximately 63% of Collin County’s population lives in unincorporated areas, a statistic very similar to Montgomery County.
The foregoing chart showing 7-year budget growth reveals that Montgomery County’s government growth has greatly exceeded that of counties similar in size and growth patterns.
Doyal’s phony pass-through argument
Doyal has attempted to portray the Montgomery County budget as substantially smaller than the $377 million explosion over which he has presided as County Judge. His argument is utter nonsense.
First, every county in the State of Texas has similar “pass-through” items in the budgets. Either way, the growth of Montgomery County’s spending has far exceeded the rate of population growth and has even far exceeded the rate of population growth plus inflation.
Doyal has argued that the rate of population growth plus the rate of inflation should be the maximum growth rate for a County government’s spending. Therefore, just since 2010, Montgomery County’s spending has grown $54 million too large by Doyal’s own analysis. In other words, using 2010 as a benchmark, Montgomery County’s expenditure budget should only be $323 million in Fiscal Year 2017 rather than the $377 million that it is.
Second, and perhaps most important, from where in the world does Craig Doyal think the “pass-through” funds come? The money doesn’t drop out of the sky. The money isn’t imported from overseas. No. The money comes from the taxpayers who pay those funds to the federal government and to the state government.
The only person who views those funds as “pass-through” must be Craig Doyal desperately trying to show his political validity. For the rest of us, who pay those tax dollars, the funds just pass away.