By now, you have likely received your preliminary property tax appraisal notices, and you’ve probably noticed a substantial increase to your appraised value. Property values in Parker County have been increasing at a rapid pace, due to a combination of growth in new development and demand for existing properties. Ask any realtor who represents properties in the area and you’ll quickly learn the Parker County market has never been as hot as it is today.
It is in light of this fact that I thought it would be helpful to discuss with you - as a resident, taxpayer, and valued member of our community - why you don’t see Hudson Oaks as a taxing entity on your appraisal statement, and why we intend to keep it that way for the foreseeable future.
According to the Texas Comptroller’s property tax report for 2014-2015, property taxes account for nearly 50% of all state and local taxes. This creates an interesting dilemma in a state that so deeply values property rights; a dilemma which manifests as a tangled web of laws, mandates, and regulations that ultimately make the situation more confusing for you, the taxpayer.
At the end of the day, the complexity of the Texas property tax system creates distortions in our market, while encouraging a less efficient and often less equitable method for funding the necessary services that Texans require.
In Hudson Oaks, we believe that the property tax system in the State of Texas focuses far too heavily on taxing the investment (property) which drives long-term growth, all while distorting the market for that investment. Hudson Oaks has focused instead on encouraging capital investment through low property taxes while funding services to our residents through taxes on voluntary retail activity (sales tax). This philosophy sets Hudson Oaks apart from nearly every other full-service city in our state, and we believe it provides enormous benefits to our residents.
First, the average Hudson Oaks homeowner will save $130 per month compared to one that lives in a neighboring city. That is money that can be used to purchase a property with a higher value, saved or invested, or used as additional discretionary spending (at Hudson Oaks businesses, we hope!).
Second, it forces our City Council and our staff to seek development opportunities that add significant value to our community, and that can pay for themselves. Without the property tax backstop that other cities have, we are freed to creatively promote the many benefits of our community to businesses interested in coming here.
Finally, it means that Hudson Oaks residents do not bear the full burden of the services that the City provides. In 2016, per capita retail sales inside Hudson Oaks totaled more than $59,000 (compared to approximately $29,000 in Weatherford and $17,000 in Fort Worth). This means that a sizeable portion of the city’s sales tax revenue is paid by people who shop in Hudson Oaks, but do not live here. By exporting our tax burden to non-residents, we are able to provide substantially higher levels of service at a lower cost to you.
As a community, we have placed a high value on remaining property tax-free. By honoring this commitment, we have been able to grow wisely, with a focus on sustainability, and in a way that limits the tax burden on our residents. From our residents and businesses, to our City Council and staff, this commitment will continue to be honored in the years to come.
Although your property values may have risen this year, it’s important to remember that the tax appraisal is only one piece of the puzzle. Whether your taxes go up or down is ultimately decided not by the appraised value, but by each of the entities listed on your appraisal statement. They decide how to respond to the increase in values: will they reduce their tax rates to offset some of the increase, or will they hold the line to realize all of the growth in property values?
Mayor Pat Deen