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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Feeling the freeze

 
 

It seems contradictory that at a campus known for its friendliness, the surrounding community would be working against those who define it.
The battle between permanent College Station residents and Texas A&M students turns over a new leaf this year as Brazos County seeks to enact a property tax freeze for elderly and disabled residents.
While it is commendable to ease the financial burden of those on a fixed income, the proposal brought by the Texas Legislature does more harm than good to both sides. Not only could Brazos County residents be paying an increased rate to make up for those whose rates do not increase if the proposition goes underway, but even those it applies to will eventually be hurt by it.
The implications of this tax freeze a few years down the road are disconcerting. The freeze would only postpone the payment of the taxes, requiring that they be paid when the resident relocates or be paid by relatives in the event of the resident’s death, except with an 8 percent compounded annual interest rate, according to The Eagle.
Already, elderly and disabled Brazos County residents receive $75,000 worth of property tax exemptions, an addendum that raised Brazos County’s tax rate by 2.44 cents, according to The Eagle. This additional freeze would be neither beneficial nor productive, but instead is the local government’s way of making money off a wary community left with no options and an unsuspecting retirement community who wrongly believes they are getting a break.
While this piece of legislation might be beneficial for other counties in Texas, where there is enough excess income of homeowners to swallow the costs that can’t be paid by the elderly, Brazos County would only suffer from the enactment of this plan. The penalty would fall upon the community, made up of mostly college students who may want to buy property instead of lease it, but cannot afford excess bills this legislation would create.
Students who do own property are already paying increased rates for those in the community who often make it clear that college students are not always welcome tenants. However, students’ voices are drowned out by local city and county officials because of the lack of student activism in local politics. The tax freeze, which will possibly appear on the November ballot, could easily pass due to the lack of students registered to vote.
In the event the bill does pass in Brazos County, Judge Randy Sims told The Eagle that the current exemption for elderly and disabled residents might have to be decreased. The other option to counteract the loss of revenue would be to raise property taxes overall, something that would not only hurt property-owning college students, but could potentially affect leasing prices as well.
College students dealing with rising tuition bills aren’t the only ones to lose. Despite recurrent community aims to retain college students to improve the economy, the tax freeze and probable tax increases will only be one more factor that draws them to bigger cities and better paying jobs.
The elderly residents of Brazos County may innocently believe that the frozen tax rate would be favorable and deserved, but in actuality what is deserved is reasonable and just treatment towards all residents.

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