The Gloves Come Off in Tax Assessor-Collector Race

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A Tax Assessor-Collector’s race doesn’t usually get much notice, but this year’s Tarrant County four-way match up is attracting a lot of attention as Election Day nears and the gloves come off.

Over the last few days a poll has been running asking voters who they might choose in that race. Those who selected “Mike Snyder” as their candidate were directed to the following question “Would you change your vote if you knew that Mike Snyder does not pay his taxes?” It’s not a new accusation, but who is making it via a push poll? What is the real story?

Mike Snyder is a well known newscaster having been the face of NBC5 for nearly 30 years. His difficulties began in 2008 when his wife had a heart attack. Thankfully, she survived, but after intensive surgery and 18 months of rehabilitation and treatment, the family was left with over $1.5 million in medical bills. Insurance covered some, but Snyder was still responsible for around $300,000. The FWST summarized it well:

“Snyder has been up front about owing the Internal Revenue Service for early withdrawals from his retirement accounts years ago to pay more than $1.5 million in medical and rehabilitation costs after his wife, Lyn, had a major heart attack in 2008.

‘I had a decision to make: Whether to not pay the rest of the doctors and the people who were doing the rehab long term for my wife [or] taking the money I had amassed in my retirement funds, cashing that in and then using that to pay doctor’s bills,’ he said. ‘I did take early withdrawal from my retirement funds to pay those medical bills.’

He said he knew he would face penalties for withdrawing money early from his account. And while he said he has paid the taxes due on the withdrawal, he still owes for the penalty for the early withdrawal.”

In the end, there were doctors, nurses, lab technicians, etc. that deserved to be paid for their hard work. Conservatives preach personal responsibility, and Snyder did what a conservative would do, he tapped his own money in his retirement account and paid the $300,000. Unfortunately, our government penalizes you for withdrawing your own money if you are not yet 60 years old. This resulted in massive taxes and penalties for withdrawing – his own money. Snyder paid the taxes but is on a payment plan for the penalties, according to his statement.  The penalties he must pay for accepting responsibility for his wife’s medical treatment.

“I am grateful we had the retirement money to use, I am disheartened that anyone, especially a Conservative Republican, would think there was something wrong with paying my own bills with my own money and taking the penalty, so others would not have to go without.” Snyder said in a statement provided to DAT.

Medical bills are the number one reason for bankruptcy in the US. Snyder could have filed bankruptcy. He could have just not paid the bills and stiffed all the providers. But he took personal responsibility, paid them, and is now, at great pains to his own financial situation, paying off the consequences of tapping into his retirement accounts. That is exactly what conservatives advocate. Snyder is being attacked for living by conservative principles.

Who is the attacker? At a fundraiser for Kimberly Fitzpatrick on Feb. 6th, Clint Burgess, husband of Wendy Burgess, bragged about running the push poll. He told attendees that the poll was ruffling some feathers. Maybe it’s ruffling feathers because people can see through the smoke screen.

Wendy Burgess is one of the four candidates running for Tax Assessor-Collector. Her campaign isn’t getting the traction they expected and the desperation is beginning to show. The fact that Burgess is running this attack hit when her own campaign manager and consultant was convicted of federal tax evasion is the irony that should not be lost on voters.

Wendy Burgess is presumably using this tactic to hide her own history. She doesn’t want voters to know how she raised taxes consistently as a city council member in Mansfield. She also won’t mention that she and Ron Wright had a heated argument because she was upset that he was educating voters that city councils and school boards raise taxes, not the Tarrant Appraisal District. I’m not sure if she was mad that he was exposing her as a tax raiser, or if she actually doesn’t understand how property taxes work. Either way, she’s not someone to follow Wright in that seat.

The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior and the two tax-raising Hurst and Mansfield city council members have shown to be exactly what we don’t need in this out of control government spending environment. This is why I support Rick Barnes for tax assessor collector.

Beware of the campaign attacks sure to come in the next few weeks as candidates start to scramble towards election day.

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