Texas Property Tax Reform Dies On The Vine

Property tax reform died an inevitable death during the 85th Texas legislative session. I say inevitable, because it was clear from the outset of the road show advertised as a property tax reform effort that there were too many conflicts of interest preventing real reform of what can only be described as an incestuous, revenue-driven system. Texas is still one of the few states without a state income tax. The Texas Senate wants to keep it that way. Texas senators also made it clear that their legislative body wanted to push a school privatization scheme [...]

Fed Looks At Texas’ Affordable Housing Problem, Fails To Look In The Mirror

The Federal Reserve can be commended on one thing. They never cease to provide entertainment in terms of their complete ineptitude and functional obsolescence. The Fed continues to show no remorse for the damage they have inflicted on the general population and their destruction of what was formerly known as the U.S. housing market. The latest comedy from the Fed comes courtesy of the inaugural report from the Dallas Federal Reserve Community Outlook Series titled 'The Scarcity of Texas Affordable Housing' In this fun-filled trip down the rabbit hole, the Fed examines the problem of the lack [...]

Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturing Activity Crashes To 6-Year Lows

The Dallas Fed released the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey numbers for January, and it appears the Texas economy is continuing to fade with the downturn of the energy sector. The January numbers show the General Business Activity index printing at a negative 34.6, falling from December's -21.6. These are interesting numbers from the Dallas Fed considering the president told us just a few weeks ago that the economy was not in decline. I guess the Dallas Fed is "peddling fiction" as well. Here's a rundown of the January manufacturing numbers which were all in the [...]

Tax Abatements & Incentives For New Schlumberger Headquarters As Sugar Land Homeowners Get Steamrolled

As residents of Fort Bend County begin opening up their 2015 property tax bills in the coming weeks and months, they can be proud that they are helping to support what has become one of the most regressive, crony capitalist property tax systems in the United States. This is the undeniable truth here in Texas where puppet officials continue to tow the line for big business and help companies skate on billions in property taxes. The news that Schlumberger will relocate their national headquarters to their Sugar Land Texas campus provides yet another example of [...]

By | 2017-02-03T23:32:03+00:00 October 6th, 2015|Development, Politics, Spin Cycle|3 Comments

BLS: August Unemployment Rate Drops To 5.1% As 94 Million Americans Not In The Labor Force

There's no BS like the BLS. When it comes to meaningless headline data, the official U.S. unemployment rate is about as misleading as you can get. Today the August employment report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics told us that the unemployment rate dropped to 5.1%. Of course the reality is while apparently added 173,000 jobs in August, the real reason the official unemployment rate dropped is because more people were vaporized from the labor force. As noted in the graphic above graciously provided by Professor Anthony Sanders, the U.S. labor force participation rate dropped [...]

By | 2018-02-02T23:39:36+00:00 September 4th, 2015|Economy, Markets, Spin Cycle, Texas Employment|0 Comments

City of Austin Sues State Of Texas Over Unequal Appraisal System

It appears the City of Austin is taking the bull by the horns in addressing Texas' broken property tax system. The city yesterday announced a lawsuit against the state of Texas over unequal appraisals that continue to burden residential homeowners. The new lawsuit stems from Austin's challenge of TCAD commercial values earlier this summer. In that independent TCAD analysis, commercial property appraisals were shown to be under market value by as much as 50 percent. This of course would contradict the state constitutional mandate that all property be taxed "in proportion to its value". The [...]

By | 2015-08-26T11:40:42+00:00 August 25th, 2015|Housing Policy, Politics, Spin Cycle, Video|0 Comments

Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturing Activity Still Contracting In June

Today the Dallas Fed reported that Texas manufacturing activity continues to contract. The Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey for June was a continuation of previous reports this year noting a declining manufacturing sector in the Lone Star state. The production index posted at a negative 6.5, a fourth consecutive month of declining output in Texas. While the pace of decline has slowed, the June numbers show that Texas manufacturing activity continues to shrink. Here is a brief summary of the manufacturing numbers for June... Production Index: -6.5 Capacity Utilization: -6.1 Shipments: -8.8 New Orders: -10.3 Growth [...]

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index Contracts Further In May, Texas Recession Ahead?

The Dallas Fed reported some rather troubling numbers for the Lone Star State today. Manufacturing activity in Texas continues to free fall with the May survey results. Here are the highlights from the May Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey... General Business Activity Index: Down again to -20.8 Production Index: Down to -13.5, (lowest reading in 6 years) New Orders Index: Flat at -14.1 Growth Rate of Orders Index: Flat at -15.2 Capacity Utilization Index: Down to -11.6 Shipments Index: Down to -13.2 Employment Index: Down to -8.2 Hours Worked Index: Down to -11.6 But never fear. [...]

Stakeholders In Texas’ Broken Property Tax System Cannot Absolve Themselves Of Responsibility For It’s Failure

I am currently having an interesting discussion on my community message board regarding the dysfunctional property tax system and the most recent appraisal notices that have local homeowners shouting from the rooftops over skyrocketing property tax bills. What continues to amaze me is that some of the people who are ready to march in protest over their record-high property tax bills don't want to acknowledge that they actually voted for higher property tax bills. The question I'm asking on my community message board is this: Now that you have your 2015 property tax notice, would [...]

By | 2017-12-22T02:33:32+00:00 May 21st, 2015|Economy, Education, In the Press, Real Estate|1 Comment

Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturing Activity Weakens Again In April As Texas Rig Count Drops 56 Percent YoY

LOL! So much for the spin of low oil prices being good for the Texas economy. The Dallas Fed just reported that Texas manufacturing activity continued to contract in April, with Texas manufacturing activity remaining in negative territory for the 2nd consecutive month. I imagine that negative manufacturing index is ever so slightly related to the 56 percent year-over-year drop in the Texas rig count posted last Friday. It certainly isn't helping the Texas employment sector, with employment in the state dropping at the fastest rate in six years. Here are some of the readings from [...]

By | 2016-05-21T12:07:02+00:00 April 27th, 2015|Economy, Energy & Utilities, In the Press, Spin Cycle|0 Comments