Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Local Friendswood, Texas Government Corruption

Boy it's getting crazy here. It seems local officials in Friendswood have taken it upon themselves to lobby AGAINST a property tax cap, all the while enjoying a lack of increase in their own property taxes because their homes mysteriously do not increase in appraised value like everyone else's. Sound fishy? That's what most other Texans think too.

The following is an article copied in it's entirety from Lonestar Times

Tuesday, February 22, 2005
EXCLUSIVE: Friendswood officials fight lower tax caps while avoiding appraisal increases
by David Benzion | 02/22/2005 7:00 am

A LoneStarTimes.com investigation has determined that many of the Friendswood-area officials using taxpayer resources to argue in Austin against a reduction in annual appraisal caps have themselves avoided any increase in their property tax burden in recent years.

LST’s review of Galveston County Appraisal District records revealed that during a period when the average Friendswood homeowners tax appraisal increased by 32%…

* Councilman Jerry Ericsson’s increased by only 9%;
* Mayor Kimball Brizendine’s increased by just 6%; AND
* Councilmembers David Smith, Laura Ewing, and Mel Measeles saw no increase whatsoever in their appraised property taxes (0%).

Measles, in addition to serving on City Council, is currently the regional president of the Texas Municipal League, a highly influential special-interest group comprised of government officials and bureaucrats. The TML is a key lobby group in Austin fighting against a reduction of property tax appraisal rates from 10% to 3% annually.

LST’s research also revealed that Friendswood City Manager Ron Cox’s property tax burden did not increase by a single penny in the past three years.

Cox recently testified in Austin on behalf of the Texas Municipal League that, in regard to the appraisal system, "I personally don’t think it’s broken."

UPDATE– A knowledgeable source in Friendswood city government informs us that although councilman Tracy Goza and Mayor Kim Brizendine live in the same subdivision, Goza’s appraisal has gone up in proportion to the average Friendswood homeowner’s, while the Mayor’s has not.

Councilman Goza– 8.3% annually, 33.2% 2000-2004
Mayor Brizendine– 1.6% annually, 6.3% 2000-2004

Goza does not support the Mayor’s legislative agenda to oppose a reduction in appraisal caps from 10% to 3%.

10:58 a.m. UPDATE– Councilman Goza has agreed to come to the live broadcast with Dan Patrick and Edd Hendee at Friendswood’s DoubleDave’s Pizza at FM 528 and 518 (behind the Texas First Bank building) today at 4 p.m. to address this controversy.

As promised this morning, he will receive free breadsticks. The offer remains open to all other councilmembers, as well as city manager Ron Cox.

The public is encouraged to attend as well.

For more information on the property tax cap proposal, visit Clout Texas.

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