My Thoughts After Yesterday's Property Tax Hearing

 

I want to personally thank everyone who came out to yesterday’s property tax relief and reform committee hearing in Arlington. I know the drive was far and the wait was long, but your testimony is at the heart of the charge for this committee. I also very much appreciate all the feedback from those who were unable to attend. I shared your comments with the committee and read from several letters at the hearing.
 
This committee is not about local governments, it is not about complex tax formula calculations, appraisal districts or even ideology. This committee and the hearings we are holding across the state are about the people and what type of state we want to leave to the next generation. Yesterday’s hearing lasted nearly 12 hours and over 400 people attended. At the end of the day not a single citizen taxpayer testified that they were satisfied with the status quo. Not a single citizen said they were comfortable with the rate in which their property taxes were escalating. And not a single citizen felt the cards are fairly stacked so that the people can affect change in their community.
 
Meanwhile, taxpayers were lectured by government officials, taxpayer-funded lobbyists, and high-powered government consultants on why they need more and more of the peoples money. And on why government needs unhinged freedom to grow as the political elite see fit.
 
The contrast was staggering!
 
On no other issue have I seen such a divide between the will of the people and government interests. This divide has exposed a system where government growth is set to autopilot without a mechanism for the people to check its power. Such a system, which seeks to silence the people, belittles the principles of our Republic and is in dire need of reform.
 
The more government takes the less freedom people have to choose how they want to live their lives. Property taxes are even more personal. Our homes are more than just an asset for the government to tax. In our homes we: enjoy family dinners, raise our children, gather to celebrate life’s milestones, build tree houses, set up lemonade stands, etch yearly height measurements into door frames, hang pictures, and make many other memories.
 
When I hear the fear in people’s voice, worried they are going to have to sell their home because the tax burden has grown too immense, my blood boils. Government exists to secure the rights of the people. The stories shared by homeowners in our district, and across the state, run contrary to this directive.
 
The Senate is listening and committed to meaningful reforms that empower the people and provide much needed tax relief. However, the big-government forces have drawn a line in the sand, vowed not to comprise and fight us at every turn. That is why your feedback is so important. As I have said before, the only way to defeat the determined big-government forces is for the voice of the people to echo even louder.
 
Semper Fidelis,
 
Van