Last week the people of the City of Allen, the town in which I live, passed a property tax hike. This now makes the residents of our fair city among the highest taxed in the State of Texas.
How can this be? With all the talk in the media about tax rate hikes and the flaming rhetoric that comes from Tea Partiers and Conservatives, how could one of the most “Red” municipalities in the most “Red” state of the union vote to raise their own taxes?
Two main reasons.
First, this tax was specifically to fund education and the “it’s for the children” mantra makes even the staunchest Tea Partier turn mauve if not a pale blue.
Second, plain and simple it was voter apathy. This is technically known as the principle-agent problem. As you can see from the table below, less than 10 percent of registered voters turned out despite almost two weeks of early voting opportunity including a Saturday.
This means that is took less than six percent of the population of the city to impose a tax hike of roughly $350 per household per year on themselves and the other 94 percent of us. So much for majority rules. So much for “democracy.”
Worse this is not the first (nor probably the last) time this has happened. In May 2009, the voters passed a $144,000,000 bond issue for the building a new high school football stadium and a performing arts center. The results were similar:
In this case 2,364 people imposed a $3,400 per person liability on the rest of their fellow citizens.
Blame Congress, blame Obama, blame Bush, but look in the mirror too. I am sure this goes on in your town to some degree as well.