Monday, October 10, 2011

No Exemption for Home, Sweet, Home

City, county, and school property tax statements were mailed out to homeowners last week. The only new wrinkle this year is that the City of Richardson's tax statement is now combined with the county's tax statement. Combining the two saves money. Good, smart move.

Combining the two also makes it easier to compare the taxes paid to support city services versus county services. The numbers are right there, side by side. Now, if we could only get more momentum behind movements like Taxpayer Receipt, taxpayers would know even more about how their tax dollars are being spent.

What stood out for me in this year's local tax statement is that the city doesn't give homeowners a homestead exemption. It's hard to avoid that big, fat "0" in the column headed "Homestead Exemption." This shouldn't be news to anyone. The lack of a homestead exemption was always listed on the city's tax statement in the past. It's just more prominent now. I'm curious whether residents will notice and lobby for the city to revisit this policy. Odder things have happened. If so, it'll be another example of the law of unintended consequences.

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