Letter to the Editor: Anti-Tax Brigade needs to do the math

accesories-text-editor-hi(Editor’s note: This letter is in response to ads that a loose-knit group calling itself the “Somervell County Anti-Tax Brigade” has been running for several weeks in a local newspaper. The ads oppose the formation of a Somervell County Hospital District, which is on the May 11 ballot.)

Folks, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had just about enough of this “Anti-Tax Brigade” B.S. And I’m glad Mr. (Wayne) Widner was finally brave enough to give us his name (at least as “Treasurer”). Personally, I believe that there’s someone else behind this, and that someone doesn’t want his or her name in the public eye. Why not? You got something to say, let everybody know who’s saying it.

First of all, Mr. Billy Wayne Widner not only doesn’t own property in this county and isn’t a registered voter, he doesn’t even live here! He lives in Granbury! Now, you’ve got to ask yourself a question: “Why on Earth would Mr. Widner want to get involved in an issue like this in another county?” There has to be some motive and, neighbors, let me tell you, it’s not one that’s in the best interests of the residents of this county, you can bet your life on that!

Now, let’s examine Mr. Widner (or whoever wrote this junk) and his “facts” and “conclusions” in his last ad.

1) First of all, the “tax base” of Hamilton County is not a paltry $3.76 million. That’s ridiculous. The actual total tax base of Hamilton County is approximately $1.8+ billion. That makes his calculations already off by a factor of around 478. Slight miscalculation there, bud! The actual “taxable property value” for Hamilton County is approximately $419 million (that’s the total tax base, minus exemptions, etc.).

2) If you divide $3.76 million by 100, you get 37,600 and then, when you multiply that times the tax rate for Hamilton’s Hospital District, you get $5,959.60! Instead, Mr. Math-wiz here comes up with a total taxes paid of $597,003; or just about 100 times off. I don’t know where he went to school, but his mathematics is way out in left field. I wouldn’t want him to be my treasurer, that’s for sure and for certain!

3) And I don’t know why (well, yes I do know why) everyone who’s against the hospital district keeps saying the tax rate is going to be 17.5 cents per $100 valuation. You have to have a “cap” set when you hold the election. (By the way, Hamilton’s cap is 25 cents per $100 valuation on their district.) And just for the record, our water district cap is also 25 cents per $100. That’s been the same since the passage of the water district in 1985 — and their rate is only 12 cents now!

Anyway, as I was saying, Mr. Widner’s facts aren’t facts, they’re flat-out lies. He states that our tax base is $3.76 billion, which is essentially correct, but the “taxable property value” of Somervell County is somewhere around $2.9 billion, but that’s okay. Still, if you “do the math” on his figures, you don’t get $6,300,000, you get $6,580,000! He had a chance to increase the figure by $280,000, which I’m sure he would have wanted to do. Unbelievable! Even when he gets it wrong, he can’t get it right.

The current assumption is that the hospital district would probably need to set its tax rate at (or possibly below) that of the water district, i.e., 12 cents per $100 valuation. And since the actual taxable property value is $2.908 billion, this means the total tax paid (with Comanche Peak/Luminant paying 80 percent) would be $3,576,000 (at 80 percent, the power plant would pay $2,860,000 and the “rest of us” would pay $716,000!). An average property value of $200,000 would pay only $240 per year, or just $20 per month, to the hospital district. This is not going to bankrupt anyone.

It’s real simple, people: just do the math (but don’t let Mr. Wayne Widner, or whoever put this ad together, help you with it)!

Ron Hankins

Former Somervell County Attorney

One Response to Letter to the Editor: Anti-Tax Brigade needs to do the math

  1. Becky Mansfield Paschal Reply

    April 9, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    I raised my family in Glen Rose since 1983 and have seen many changes, some good and some for only a certain group of people. I believe if you are not willing to put your name to document that affects an entire town, there is probably something unlawful about it. As for this Mr Widner does he have a vested interest? If so why not say what it is. It seems very “fishy” to me. I worked for GRMC for 3+ years and served a large number of uninsured patients. If having a tax distinct will help serve more people and not cause the hospital to shut down, it sounds good for the town.

    Becky Paschal

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