Friday, December 9, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

Texans continue to get ‘scrooged’ at the State and Local levels...

peter stern

05:08 on 9 December 2011
It will continue to get much worse economically and socially for Texas taxpayers and citizens all across the state.

The cause of massive costs of living increases is due to political games, inept leadership and poor communication among elected and appointed officials, from Governor Rick Perry on down the line. Perry has no business running for President since the past 11 years of his reign has caused the Texas economy to spiral down the toilet.

Health Care Premiums within the state

No matter what "King" Perry, his appointed officials and Texas Legislators tell us, health care premiums have risen dramatically and will continue to escalate. The number of uninsured Texans also has risen dramatically in direct correlation to the increases in premiums.

Furthermore, the Texas Legislature recently and quietly approved the bill that permits health care providers to increase their premiums after only 60 days! In addition, the premiums may be raised for any reason what-so-ever!!!


That's right! You heard it. Before the bill passed premiums could only be increased every 6 months. Now it will be after only 60 days and for any reason --- or absolutely no reason at all!

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) under the law must follow what the Legislature approves re: insurance reform; however, TDI does have the right to question and appeal any law. However, so far TDI has not contested the new health care provider law.

City of Austin Loses $400,000 in Federal Aid for Housing

The Austin American-Statesman just reported that city officials blew-off federal budget dollars due to poor or miscommunication between officials and departments.

According to the article:
The City of Austin missed a deadline to receive $400,000 in federal stimulus money to fix up old, energy-inefficient homes largely because of poor communication among city departments.
Early last month, state officials sent Austin Energy a letter asking if, in a few days' time, the city could be ready to begin using $600,000 in federal stimulus money available for weatherizing low-income homes. Austin Energy began working up the contracts and put a proposal on the agenda for the next City Council meeting.
But a few days later, City Manager Marc Ott dropped the proposal from the agenda at the last minute — resulting in Austin losing $400,000 of the $600,0000.
The cause is due to lackluster and inept leadership and poor communication between departments and city officials.

Sharp Increases in Local Taxes

Directly due to ongoing increases in daily living expenses, poor budget planning and political games local governments are trying [successfully] to push the burden onto resident taxpayers.

In addition, Governor Rick Perry and Texas Legislators have no problem continuing to overburden Texas homeowners by diverting the State's constitutional responsibility onto local governments to provide Texas children with a quality Public Education. Local city and county governments in turn overburden Texas home and property owners.

The only way local governments may raise taxes is to:
  • Increase the tax rate
  • Increase property and home values
  • Develop and approve bond packages.
Case in point: In 1998 I purchased 10 acres of land to build a home. The taxes on the land at the time was $500 per year.

After we built our lovely home the taxes jumped to $1,700 per year.

Currently [13 years later] our home and property taxes are approximately $14,000 and would be unaffordable for us if not for the fact that I am a 100 percent disabled veteran and with the recent laws approved do not have to pay any property taxes. My home would be in foreclosure otherwise.

For whatever reason, whether they are mislead by the wording of bond issues or they do not know that any and every bond issue will increase their taxes dramatically no matter what officials tell them, There are various kinds of bond issues, e.g., school buildings, roads, parks & recreational bonds and a few others. For whatever reasons, Texans continue to approve most bond issues. In addition, many cities and counties increase the tax rate to improve their revenues. Furthermore, because of continued cuts to education by Perry and State Legislators, local school districts continue to push districts to increase home and property values.

The result of all this is the highest home foreclosure numbers ever in the state of Texas and one of the highest property taxes in the nation.

Rising Home Insurance Premiums

Texans already pay the 2nd highest home insurance costs in the nation, after the state of Florida. We are told that the reason is due to natural disasters, e.g., various storms, flooding, lightning strikes, fires, hail damage, etc.

While some of the above reasons are valid to a degree, we need to look back 4 years ago when in a hard insurance market the industry looked for help from the government to permit the increase of insurance premiums. As usual, the government was unreceptive and looked the other way. The laws governing the insurance industry at best may be termed "lax" and so the industry determined to help itself.

Under the minimal regulatory oversight, the industry decided overnight to double home insurance premiums, which caused quite an uproar. Consumers complained to Governor Perry and legislators. They complained to the TDI. Of course promises were made by all, but we know that talk and promises are cheap and seldom come to fruition.

Historically, it is not unusual for the insurance industry to jack-up insurance premiums in a hard market; however, it generally over-compensates and tries to justify the sharp increases due to years of paying out high claims due to natural disasters. Then in following years of a softer market --- like now --- the insurance premiums usually stay the same or actually still increase. Some Texans did see a small cost reduction in their premiums; however, it is short-lived since after the recent hurricanes, flooding, fires and hail storms, insurance premiums are set to rise again.


All in all it is not going to be a very Merry Christmas or Happy New Year for Texas residents, at least financially. For the most part taxes are going to increase. New roads may become tolled, since we are constantly told that the road budget is insufficient to build and maintain our roadways. That said, there have been no open and honest documentation to that fact and the operations of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) are still secretive and highly questionable despite years of investigation into the runaway agency by the Senate Committee on Transportation.

Governor Perry appoints the head of the agency, who remains true to the whims and desires of the Governor and his political henchmen in the Texas Legislature. Texans are not truly and adequately represented and the wealthy road developers are making a fortune after contributing huge campaign dollars and/or perks and gifts every year to the Governor and various influential elected and appointed officials.

In his campaign for President, Governor Rick Perry enjoys traveling around the nation via a private jet provided by one of his major supporters, who also happens to be investigated currently by the SEC.  It is all very hush-hush and not reported often enough in the media.

For most Texans it will be a struggle to survive. The wealthy will get richer and the poor will be poorer. The wedge will be driven into the middle class, most of whom will become part of the poor class while a few of the luckier ones may remain middle class or perhaps if really fortunate a handful may become wealthier. It is a sad, tragic time for Americans who seem forced to be regulated by a runaway Congress on the National and State levels, with no end in sight.  Perhaps it is time for another American Revolution.


No comments:

Post a Comment