Los Fresnos News

Expect LNG Industry To Lower Property Taxes

If you want lower property taxes, then you should support bringing the liquefied natural gas industry to Cameron County.

If the LNG industry comes, property owners in the county, Point Isabel ISD, South Padre Island, Laguna Vista and Southmost College tax districts could see significant property tax reductions. They could also see improvements in services and infrastructure funded with additional revenue from sales tax income and a larger property tax base.

Here’s how it works.

What every property owner pays annually is based on two things – the property’s appraised value and the tax rate per $100 valuation. As a simple example, someone with a $100,000 home would pay $399 in county taxes based on the 2015 tax rate of .399 cents per $100 valuation. And they would pay $1,080 in taxes to PIISD based on the tax rate of $1.0816.

Government entities set these tax rates each year based on 1) how much revenue they need to generate from property taxes and 2) the total appraised value of taxable property.

As an example, Cameron County’s total taxable property value in 2015 was $17.3 billion. The county set the tax rate based on how much revenue that value could generate. The higher the total appraised value, the more revenue it can generate.

LNG facilities could add billions of dollars to this total taxable property value for decades to come, allowing the county to generate the same amount of revenue (or more) with a lower tax rate. That means lower taxes for me and you and more money in our pockets. For example, if the county’s total taxable property value doubled, the county could cut its tax rate in half and generate the same revenue as before.

The same general principle applies to the other taxing entities.

Now let’s look at a real-life example. Freeport LNG is an import facility in Brazoria County that has begun construction to become an export facility. According to its website, Freeport LNG pays nearly $9 million a year in taxes to the State of Texas and various jurisdictions in Brazoria County. It also states:

“This will increase substantially in the coming years as tax abatements on the existing facilities expire. In addition, Freeport LNG currently pays more than $1 million per year to the Town of Quintana, which is adjacent to its terminal. All of these amounts are expected to increase after the proposed facilities are placed in operation.”

Taxing entities can use this additional income to fund infrastructure and services to improve the quality of life in our communities. They could use it to enhance our public parks and promote eco-tourism.

We can expect the economic growth that the LNG industry brings to Cameron County to benefit taxpayers for years to come. Join me in welcoming this safe, environmentally compliant industry to Cameron County.

Concerned Citizen,

Gary Snyder
Port Isabel, TX