Common Sense Citizen Organization

Sara Legvold sends word that she is having an organizational meeting Monday night at the Golden Coral in Keller from 7:00pm to 8:30 for a new Common Sense Citizen Organization for the 76262 Zip Code.  As I have a P&Z Meeting Monday, I can’t attend.  If one of the readers has a chance to go to the meeting and post up details it would be appreciated.

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8 responses to “Common Sense Citizen Organization

  • Jim Carson

    There were eight people there: a lady and two couples from Trophy Club, Sara, the organizer Laurie Medina, and me. Laurie–I think that’s her name but I’m not certain–is not related to gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina.

    Laurie gave us some background on the group, including its five principles, their policy of not endorsing candidates, and its roots in the Dallas Tea Party. Here’s a video of her dissecting ObamaCare: http://dallasteaparty.org/3083/

    Their purpose is simple–grow the group with outreach. Sara was eager to do that, but very concerned about restraints on her ability to endorse candidates.

    My concern is becoming affiliated with groups or persons who are later lampooned as unsophisticated or foolish. For example, there were flyers there for Debra Medina and Giovanni Capriglione. Giovanni’s I liked very much; Debra’s I did not.

    On the back of Debra’s flyer are several principles that begin with “WE TEXANS…” The second one reads,

    must eliminate property tax. A broad based sales tax is the most efficient and sufficient means to fund necessary government service.”

    This idea is sophomoric and NOT fiscally conservative, and does NOT promote individual responsibility.

  • Ranger Mike

    Outreach, eh? I like the idea…but the problem is that they are aiming for our youth, to indoctrinate them early: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=119046

  • Jim Carson

    World Net Daily (link provided by Ranger Mike) is a perfect example of the idiot fringe with whom I do not want to associate. They were the website most associated with the crowd who demanded to see Obama’s “real” birth certificate.

  • Pat

    Jim,

    I was the blog reader who met Giovanni at the Boiling point but was out of town when Doug asked for a report. That said I didn’t realize it was a “tea party” when I attended and understand your hesitancy to be associated with this fringe group as I was uncomfortable there and wouldn’t plan on attending again.
    However I am curious as to why you find the idea of eliminating property tax unpalatable? This seems like a reasonable way for citizens to help control the cost of government. If we adopt any type of consumption tax then citizens can restrict the flow of money by reducing their consumption and even an income tax (yes I’m a native Texan so I know those are fighting words) would at least cause more consternation with voters when they filled out and paid their yearly ransom. The property tax is hardly noticed by most as it is generally paid by an escrow company and people just see it as part of their mortgage payment. It is also subject to a very progressive appraisal ‘creep’. While I disagreed with my vote, most residence consider this tax a huge imposition on the fixed income crowd so much so that we capped their contribution by law leaving the rest of us with more than our fair share to pay.
    Perhaps my 2 bit analysis is not up to snuff so I appreciate your thoughts.

  • Jim Carson

    Hi Pat, Thanks for asking because this is terribly important to me. I’ve been meaning to do a long and detailed explanation of my aversion to sales taxes in general and the Fair Tax in particular.

    But since I don’t have the time, (or the space in this comment box), let me just state some principles of taxation, and readers can draw their own conclusions on the relative merits of property tax vs. sales tax. (And by extension, the income tax.)

    1) Taxes must not be hidden. It is important that taxpayers be acutely aware how much their government is costing. You are right that some homeowners have no idea how much they’re paying, but I’d argue that most are fully aware–that’s why there is so much anger directed against appraisals and property tax rates. But I’d argue that it is GOOD to be angry about taxes. (Have you ever seen anyone actually do what you propose–withhold purchasing as a protest of government spending? Call me skeptical.)

    2) Taxes should be hard to cheat on. On this principle, property taxes are the runaway leader; income tax is in the middle, and sales taxes lag far behind.

    3) Taxes should be levied and collected directly by the government. Businesses should not be conscripted to collect taxes for the government. Just because this practice is widespread doesn’t make it right.

    4) Tax revenue should be relatively stable. Government expenditures are overwhelmingly a) salaries and b) debt repayments, that do not lessen in a recession. Even though we recently discovered property values are not as stable as we thought, they’re nowhere near as volatile as retail sales.

    5) Taxes should be relatively predictable over one’s lifetime. In the case of the Fair Tax, it is brutally unfair to seniors that they paid income taxes their entire lives, only to hammered by 30% sales taxes after they retire.

  • Harry G.

    Pat good thoughts, Jim seems as though your wires are a bit crossed.

    1) The property tax is not “hidden” but the methods by which it is calculated are less than clear (less so after our latest election i.e. props 2 & 3). If the methods were clear and fair there would not be protests at such high rates. It takes time and taxpayer dollars to dispute the property tax.

    2) Cheating: Why would someone want to cheat on taxes? When taxes are used for legitimate purposes i.e. police, fire, ems, infrastructure cheating on taxes it seems that cheating would be hurting oneself. Today, unfortunately that is not the case. I would put sales in second. In ease of collection has to be sales, property, income. Which is a good lead into your third point…

    3) Businesses remit the taxes to the government. They are set up to do this and the government helps. Point of sale is hard to skip.

    4) So your argument here is that we should keep the property tax because we have bad spending habits. When government grows faster than any economic indicator (as it has in Texas for decades) budgets are going to be tight or run deficits, hence the need to have income sources that the government can “control.”

    4b) When a recession hits and there are layoffs taxpayers are able to scale discretionary spending to make ends meet. So it is completely reasonable for the government to levy a huge property tax on residents regardless their ability to pay a property tax and when they don’t, because they can’t, kick them out of their house and home. (Sarcasm)

    5) The state does not have an income tax. It has one of the nations highest property tax rates. The property tax goes almost entirely to school M&O funding. It is fair for the elderly to pay for kids (not theirs) to be in school while not receiving a quality education. When the elderly purchase their homes they should not have to continue to pay for that property. Those don’t seem fair.

  • Jim Carson

    Harry, based on your response to question #2, I suspect you might be yanking my chain. But just in case, I’ll play along:

    1) My point, again, is that taxpayers should be acutely aware of what they pay in taxes. Property taxes are hardly perfect, but they’re much better than sales taxes. I have an excellent idea how much I paid in property taxes last year–can you say the same about what you paid in sales taxes? Can you break it down by taxing jurisdiction? I doubt it.

    I’d argue that the vast majority of ill will regarding appraisals involves assessed values that were too low for too long, and which need to be caught up. I don’t have much sympathy for people who stayed under the radar for years and are then suddenly asked to pay their fair share.

    2) You just have to be kidding me here. You think the struggling small business owner will declare every last cent of his cash receipts? Because the government will spend 8.25% of said receipts better than he can?

    3) I don’t know what “point of sale is hard to skip” means. Why try to tax 50 million point of sale transactions per day, when you can tax 20 million properties per year far more efficiently?

    4) No Harry, that is not my argument here. Not at all. Please reread what I wrote.

    The need for stable government revenue has nothing to do with said government’s profligacy or frugality.

    4b) Sarcasm aside, your response smacks of “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” I reject such arguments as stupid and mean.

    5) The “elderly” are not some oppressed minority. They are the wealthiest among us, and in local elections they wield far more influence than any other demographic. Their incomes are “fixed” only in the degree to which they themselves have fixed them.

    I have nothing but utter contempt for the seniors who whined endlessly and angrily that their taxes should be frozen, and that someone else’s share should be increased. These people are an embarrassment to the Greatest Generation.

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