Our View: It's not a good idea to kill the golden goose

The SE Texas Record Sep. 22, 2014, 11:45pm

What is it that the folks at Valero refuse to accept?

Cheryl Johnson wants to use their company as a cash cow to help cover the pay, perks, parks, and pork that Galveston County provides to staff, contractors, and constituents as “public” goods, and she's outraged that they insist on having a say in the matter. 

Johnson is an assessor and tax collector in Galveston County and is no doubt feeling pressure from all the subsidized but never satisfied recipients of the largesse her assessments and collections make possible.

Valero has gone to court, more than once, to challenge the assessments made and the taxes levied against it, and has been so successful that it has inspired other overtaxed companies to follow suit with suits of their own.

With “revenue” down, Cheryl and her superiors are scheming to close the “loophole” that allows private enterprises to protect themselves from predation by questioning the accuracy of assessments and the fairness of levies based on them.

Galveston County tried to force Valero to disclose sensitive financial information and trade secrets in order to justify a higher assessment and a bigger tax bill for one of its refineries, but the First District Court of Appeals ruled last October that such information is not necessary for determining the value of the property.

Last month, the same court gave the same message to the trough-feeders of Harris County, who likewise sought access to Valero's proprietary information with hopes of hiking the heist.

Maybe the assorted assessors and tax collectors of Southeast Texas should take these court-ordered comeuppances to heart. Maybe they should stop concentrating on coddling consumers and start showing respect for the job and income producers.

Let's stop dunning these dynamos like there's no end to their wealth and instead make a conscious effort to lighten their burdens. Let's remember how much they contribute to our communities before taxation and not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

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