I agree with Mr. Harkins. Our tax evaluations can, by law, increase up to 10 percent a year. In the 2005 legislative session, the 5 percent cap was introduced, but state Rep. Fred Hill of Richardson led a group of North Texas legislators against the bill, claiming that it would bankrupt city and county governments.

Most local governments have been enjoying a 7 percent average increase in revenue per year for the last five to seven years. Could it be that lobbyists have more to say about how our legislators vote than constituents?

As a fairly recent taxpayer in Collin County, I sympathize with Mr. Harkins' concern that spiraling property taxes are forcing people to sell homes they don't really want to sell because they can no longer afford the annual tax increases. According to my appraiser in Cooke County, there is a solution - but we are not likely to see it here anytime soon.

She said that in California, voters passed an act that stipulates when a buyer purchases property, the taxes on that property are based on the value at the time of the sale. Taxes remain at that level until the property is sold, then taxes are paid on the new value as indicated by the selling price.

In addition to the rising property taxes, home insurance and utility costs faced by Texas homeowners that Mr. Harkins mentioned, many Texans also face rising transportation and higher education costs, in addition to higher interest rates on loans.

Actions speak louder than words. Elected conservative leaders have their campaigns financed by private utilities, insurance companies and other special interests, which in turn are reaping huge profits at the expense of the public.

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