Image: In 1981, Mel Brooks became the first white artist to have a hit rap song on the R&B Billboard charts. The title of the song was “It’s Good to be the King.”
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, May 11 – A recent study by retired businessman Dennis Tibbs of Magnolia reveals that “it’s good to be the king” as far as property tax appraisals, because the Montgomery Central Appraisal District (MCAD) clearly goes easy on elected officials, on members of the MCAD Board of Directors, and on the staff members themselves who formulate their own appraisals. Tibbs, who is a Director of the Montgomery County Tea Party, presented his findings at a Tea Party meeting last Monday, May 4, 2020.
It’s important to remember that property tax appraisals have become the engine for governmental entities to raise taxes while claiming that they have held their tax rates steady. That deception arises from the fact that the actual assessed tax is the product of the property tax appraisal amount and the tax rate:
Property Tax Assessed = Property Tax Appraisal Amount x Tax Rate.
As a result of the method of determining tax appraisals, taxing entities, such as the Montgomery County Commissioners Court, which oversees the Montgomery County government, or school districts, may increase their taxation immensely by relying upon MCAD or other tax appraisal districts statewide to do their dirty work for them, while they claim to have some fiscal restraint by keeping their tax rates stable. In actuality, if a taxing entity raises its taxes above the “effective tax rate,” a tax increase has occurred even if the tax rate has come down, as a result of higher property tax appraisals. Surprisingly, in 2019, after vociferous lobbying by the Children’s Hope PAC and the Citizens Budget Committee, both the Conroe Independent School District and the County government adopted budgets with tax rates at or slightly below the “effective tax rate.” The Woodlands Township later followed suit after fierce citizen lobbying there as well.
Nevertheless, Tibbs’ Study reveals that, when it comes to property tax appraisal increases, important elected officials and appointed officials clearly enjoy favorable treatment. Tibbs’ raw data follows in a chart.
While Tibbs’ neighbors in the Montgomery Trace subdivision in Magnolia suffered property tax appraisal increases of approximately 30% during the past five years, the government “elite” enjoyed much lower increases or even average decreases:
- Commissioners Court members actually enjoyed an average 0.77% reduction over the 5 year period;
- The policymaking and oversight-responsible Board of Directors of MCAD, which sets the salaries for MCAD’s appraisal staff and determines reappraisal policy across Montgomery County, enjoyed a 0.28% reduction in their property tax appraisals over the 5 year period;
- The MCAD appraisal staff only suffered a 4.03% increase in their property tax appraisals, but Chief Appraiser Tony Belinoski had a 0.12% reduction in his property tax appraisal.
Clearly, the members of the Commissioners Court – County Judge Mark Keough, and Commissioners Mike Meador, James Noack, and Charlie Riley – do not suffer the property tax increases of the plebeians who elect them and pay the exorbitant taxes they assess. (Commissioner James Metts doesn’t own real property in his own name in Montgomery County.)
The MCAD Board of Directors is quite interesting. Its Chairman, Bruce Tough, often known as the “King of Taxation,” has actually seen reduction of 6.84% over the 5 year period, so that may explain his insensitivity to the tax suffering of the rest of us.
For four years, citizens have lobbied the Commissioners Court and the Conroe ISD to reduce spending. Those requests have fallen on deaf ears. Now, the reason why has become quite apparent. The elite don’t suffer property tax increases like the rest of us.