Linebarger's Fan Letters

In the weeks preceding the Travis Co. Commissioners Court's consideration of the delinquent tax collection system, commissioners received letters from prominent "concerned citizens" about the issue. The letters had a couple of common themes: criticizing the current system for "excessive lawsuits," and suggesting that the current system somehow works to the particular disadvantage of poor and minority homeowners. Not addressed in the letters is how a 20% surcharge to be charged by a private firm would help those same homeowners.

"Hispanic business and community leaders understand these types of excessive lawsuits have a disproportionate effect on minorities and all homeowners whose properties are less than the average appraised value." – J.R. Gonzales, CEO of JRG Communications and former chair of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

"The property owners that are hardest hit by the increased costs of a lawsuit are those whose homes are below the average value." – Charles Urdy, board chair of the Austin Revitalization Authority and former City Council member

"... If we could get the collections done with fewer suits it would be more efficient and less costly for the taxpayer. The present process seems to be especially unfair for people whose homesteads are valued at or below the average appraisal." – Bob Cole, KVET-FM talk-show host

"[The current process] ... appears to be dependent on the use of lawsuits, a system that appears to be unfair, particularly for citizens whose homesteads are valued below the average amount." – Gustavo Garcia, former Austin mayor

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