“My grandfather built this house by hand about a hundred years ago. He started off as a pecan picker. San Antonio was full of pecan trees, so after working at the pecan groves every day he’d go out in the parks at night and on weekends and collect pecans and hand-crack them. Then he’d sell them to bakeries. Before long they started asking him for more, so he saved up money and grew a successful business.
He would laugh at the property tax bills today. It’s more than he ever paid to build his home, much less to pay in taxes just to be able to live in it.
I was born and raised in San Antonio. But property taxes are disenfranchising the Hispanic homeowner community. Yes my family has been lucky. But all over this block it’s a different story.
People are $7,000 to $10,000 in arrears in property taxes and many are on fixed incomes; maybe bringing in $800 in Social Security per month.
That’s why you see people from out-of-state buying these homes for pennies on the dollar, because homes in our historical Hispanic neighborhoods are in arrears on taxes.
You used to have generations of Hispanic property owners in these historically minority communities; now that’s gone. And so now, many people have zero connection to the American Dream of home ownership. They’re being taxed out of their American Dream.
We’ve been fighting for a property tax cap for years. And all the public officials come out against a property tax cap. Of course, it’s in their interest to get as much taxes as possible to pay for all their programs. But we as homeowners are getting squeezed out, especially the minority, middle-income homeowners.”
— Roy Mendoza
San Antonio, Texas