Diana Tough, wife of former Woodlands Township President Bruce Tough posts RED HERRING attack on Gordy Bunch ad John McMullan.
Herring and Bass best when canned.
Misleading Claim: Best case scenario Incorporation tax increase 50% worst case 100%
Calls desire for autonomy and freedom from entrenched developer cronies “rushed incorporation”
Invokes BASS FUD ( Fear Uncertainty and Doubt ) Propaganda to bolster argument.
Claims 2012 Incorporation study being “suppressed” by Bunch & McMullan.
Fails to allow for elimination of wasteful spending increases implemented by Tough himself like like trolleys and water taxis projects and more.
Read unedited Facebook Post below.
A Sneaky Cover-Up Is EXPOSED:
Read How Township Studies Showing Dramatic Property Tax Increases From Incorporation Are Being Suppressed
Why are some of the current Township Directors refusing to acknowledge the Township’s 2012 Incorporation impact study that reported incorporation would prompt a 70% property tax rate increase?
This study is titled: “The Woodlands Township Future Governance Strategy and Assessment Report.” It has been widely quoted by the Township and the local press for the past four years. For example, a Houston Chronicle article from October 2014 reported “residents so far have balked at the idea (of incorporation) after a consultant reported their property taxes would soar 70%.” http://bit.ly/2dMzgzJ
But now Township Directors Bunch and McMullan (who have both been widely quoted on social media and by the press favoring rushed incorporation) are trying to cover up the findings of this 2012 incorporation impact study. They are also trying to cover-up and suppress from public inspection the other incorporation impact studies (quantitative and qualitative) that our Township has commissioned and/or our staff has prepared over the past four years. Not surprisingly, all of these studies and reports warn that dramatic property tax increases would be required should our community decide to incorporate in the near term.
With this in mind, I was stunned as I attended last week’s Township Board meeting where Mr. Bunch made a motion to table a staff presentation updating incorporation impact costs including a new projection of increased property tax rates. In fact, they bullied their colleagues on the Township Board by rudely trying to cut off any discussion of their motion to table this important staff presentation.
Mr. Bunch and Mr. McMullan had good reason to be worried about this staff report because the presentation was going to show that under a best case scenario it would take a minimum 50% increase in The Woodlands property tax rate to cover the costs of incorporation. In fact, the staff report was also going to caution that an even higher property tax increase could occur if future state legislation is not passed to keep our “hotel use tax” revenue from being restricted by caps currently applied to all cities in Texas.
Additionally, Township Board Member Mike Bass has publicly cautioned that a more realistic property tax increase from rushed incorporation could be well over a 100% increase when all potential infrastructure costs and consequences of incorporation are considered including our existing road and bridge maintenance and infrastructure needs.
This is why Mr. Bass led the charge in September with passing a new “Road and Bridge Reserve Fund” so the Township could specifically begin addressing our immediate traffic mobility needs as well as preparing for the additional future road and bridge infrastructure costs that will be incurred upon incorporation. Notably, Mr. Bunch and Mr. McMullan voted against this because they favored a quicker path to incorporation through a non-specific “Reserve Fund” that robs our Township’s current revenue needed for addressing immediate needs. Some say, the generic “Reserve Fund” rejected by the Township Board was a gimmick by Bunch and McMullan to promote their political agenda for rushed incorporation. I would agree and add that as a small child, I was told this kind of tactic is more commonly known as being “penny wise and pound foolish.” We do have to start saving for incorporation, but not at the expense of our immediate needs.
As noted above, other Township studies, memos, and reports (2012, 2015 and two in 2016) have consistently projected a significant property tax increase will be needed to cover the cost of rushed incorporation. This knowledge combined with the fact The Woodlands can incorporate any time between now and the year 2057 (per state legislation) to avoid annexation by Houston and Conroe does prompt one to wonder “What’s the rush to pay more in higher city property taxes for the same basic services we now have in the Township?”
Also, Mr. Bunch’s motion to table last week’s presentation was not his only cover-up shenanigan that occurred at this meeting.
An even more shameful cover-up was attempted by Mr. Bunch when he also selectively read out-of-context a sentence from the Township’s 2012 incorporation impact study that stated it was not a “tax rate study.” This was grossly misleading and disingenuous at best because on the same page of the same study (page 2) it also clearly states this study of incorporation impact was tasked with projecting “the additional property taxes needed to cover costs (of incorporation) assuming sales taxes remain at current levels.”
Though Mr. Bunch and Mr. McMullan are certainly entitled to their opinions on incorporation, they are not at-will to cover-up the truth.
In truth, the 2012 Township incorporation impact study projected it would take a “70.4%” property tax increase (page 5 of the report) to cover the estimated costs of incorporation.
In truth, all incorporation impact studies since 2012 have also projected dramatic increases in our property taxes if we incorporate in the near-term.
Like the fable of the “Emperor’s New clothes,” the naked truth of dramatically higher property taxes that will follow rushed incorporation is embarrassing for Mr. Bunch, Mr. McMullan and those groups (like Residents’ Advocate) who have pushed for rushed incorporation. With their attempted cover-up now exposed, The Woodlands Concerned Taxpayers movement is respectfully asking fellow taxpayers to call upon the other Township Board Members to have all incorporation tax impact studies and reports (including those from 2012, 2015 and both 2016 staff reports) immediately posted on the Township’s website (Governance section).
Additionally, we need to ask for our Directors to set a Township agenda item for the next Township Board Meeting in October that will allow for a staff presentation of the incorporation impact study that Mr. Bunch and Mr. McMullan tabled. With the possibility of a 70% property tax increase from near-term incorporation, we just can’t afford (figuratively or literally) as taxpayers to let these kind of cover-ups go unchallenged!
By Diana Tough, Secretary of The Woodlands Concerned Taxpayers