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Over the last year, the idea of offering Collin County taxpayers a homestead exemption has been discussed in at least 5 different commissioners court meetings.
With property values rising every year, taxes keep going up - even when the tax rate is cut. Many believe that a homestead exemption is the best way to reduce the real taxes that a typical homeowner pays the county.
At the request of the commissioners, the county budget department created a spreadsheet showing the net effect, on taxes paid by a homeowner, of a tax cut vs. a homeowners exemption.
The numbers make a compelling case for a homeowners exemption.
If no tax cut or homeowners exemption is granted the typical county homeowner will see his taxes go up $23.11 in 2008.
If the county cuts the tax rate from .245 to .24 (a half cent) that homeowners taxes would still go up $10.85
But if a $10,000 homestead exemption were passed, that same average homeowner would be billed for no additional taxes. In fact his bill would go down $1.39.
The homestead exemption passes on tax savings to those who need it most - middle class taxpayers.
The net effect of either plan on the county reserves is about the same.
A general tax rate cut, however mostly benefits businesses with large land or inventory holdings.
Commissioner Jerry Hoagland (ever the stalwart defender of the rich and powerful) made it clear last week that he will oppose a homestead exemption. He claimed exemptions were "too confusing" for the average citizen to understand.
Poppycock, Jerry! You know you are being disingenuous. Virtually every homeowner in the county understands homeowners exemptions. You get one on your city and school taxes, I get one, and almost every other homeowner gets one.
County Judge Keith Self agreed with Hoagland who made a motion to "simplify the discussion", by concidering ONLY a tax rate cut. Self seconded the motion, which was defeated by a 2 - 2 vote.
The issue will be revisited for the 6th time at the next court meeting.
The commissioners court has until July 1 to pass a homestead exemption for fiscal year 2008.
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