The Republican runoff race for the nomination for Tarrant County tax assessor-collector is a contest between two capable candidates with different ideas on how to do the job.
One of the biggest differences is how much energy and time each would devote to influencing lawmakers at the Texas Capitol.
Former KXAS/Channel 5 news anchor Mike Snyder of Haltom City wants to use his political skills to help convince legislators to limit the amount of property taxes local governments — cities, counties, school districts — can collect without seeking voter approval.
While every homeowner would like to see lower property taxes, we agree with former Mansfield city council member Wendy Burgess, who says politicking on that issue is a distraction from what the tax assessor should be doing.
“I say the job is here in Tarrant County because it is Tarrant County tax assessor, so I’m not going to be in Austin 365 (days a year), 24/7,” she told this Editorial Board.
The tax assessor oversees about 190 employees. The job requires the officeholder to send out accurate, timely property tax bills, manage vehicle registrations, and respond to angry and confused property owners who don’t realize the assessor doesn’t decide how much they must pay.
Burgess said she would run the office like she’s run her government contracting business, where she’s managed up to 800 workers. She’d use her IT experience to streamline the complicated computer processing of tax notices, and reduce wait times at locations where motorists renew vehicle titles and registration.
Snyder has some creative ideas, including the introduction of an employee training program that aims to eliminate wasteful spending.
But we’re concerned he would focus too heavily on politics in Austin, which is not what this office with its complexity needs.
For that reason, and because she has the skills to do the job, the Star-Telegram Editorial Board RECOMMENDS Wendy Burgess for the Republican nomination for Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector.