Conroe, January 13 – State Representative Mark Keough, running for Montgomery County Judge in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election, slammed incumbent County Judge Craig Doyal and the Montgomery County government for tax and spending increases while providing misinformation about lowering taxes. Even now, Doyal is trying to claim he is a “conservative” and has cut taxes and spending, when, in fact, Doyal has presided over massive spending an tax increases that threaten families’ ability to remain in their homes.
“The County government has told us regularly that we lower our rate. Our County Judge, Craig Doyal, has told us he has lowered the tax rate 5 times in the 10 years. Actually it’s only 3 times. But lowering the tax rate is not the only part of the equation of taxation,” Keough explained. “Doyal’s lowered the tax rate 2 cents over 10 years, yet he’s presided over an 84% increase in property tax appraisals.”
Keough provided two charts which explain his concerns over spending and taxation and the effective tax rate of the Montgomery County government as a result of property tax appraisal increases over which Doyal and the Commissioners Court presided.
Keough has explained,
“Between Fiscal Years 2006 to 2018, taxable property values in Montgomery County have skyrocketed 139%, while assessed tax rates have dropped only 5.96% [from the three paltry tax rate reductions] equating to a 133% increase in tax levies. While growth in the county has occurred during this period, our population growth of 41% and inflation during this time at 18.82% does not justify such a fast and high growth in county tax revenues or spending.”
As the State Representative running for Montgomery County Judge noted, “These tax increases don’t just reflect increased collections from newly developed properties. What we’re actually doing is we’re punishing the people who have built this County by increasing the taxes on their homes and on commercial developments.”
Keough further explained,
“Why is it that homeowners and businesses who built this county to what it is today are the ones being punished by our current tax structure? Did you know that skyrocketing appraisals coupled with little to no tax rate reduction added over $29 million dollars in new taxes to Montgomery County’s budget in FY 16 and FY 17? In total $44 million dollars in additional property tax dollars were collected in these two fiscal years for Montgomery County. The majority of that being the $29 million charged to existing homes and businesses. In fact, taxes collected on existing homes and businesses have grown faster than our population growth plus inflation over the last 12 years.”
The Golden Hammer challenged Keough to describe how he would solve these problems. His answer? “In my Contract with the Voters of Montgomery County I have pledged to address this issue. In my contract with Montgomery County Voters I pledged to address this serious issue through tax rate decreases and better management of our budget. Solution, as I say in my Contract, if the appraisals drive up the effective tax rate, then we need to drop the tax rate, so it stays the same on already-existing facilities, homesteads, and buildings. That’s keeps taxes from going up for the people who have built the county. It also doesn’t reduce the value of your home.”
The Hot Seat
Keough will discuss these concerns and others on Fox-26 television’s “The Hot Seat” on Sunday, January 14, 2018, at 7 a.m. “The Hot Seat” is a Sunday morning talk show which Fox’s ace investigative reporter Greg Groogan hosts.
Keough will join a panel of other community leaders for part of the show but will also conduct a face-to-face interview with the aggressive Groogan for a portion of the show. Keough told The Golden Hammer, “I’m looking forward to the challenge.”