Wichita County Tax Collector/Assessor Tommy Smyth said more unfunded mandates pushed onto his office may be a recipe for disaster.
Smyth spoke at the Wichita County Commissioners meeting to provide information about a request to fill a position for a deputy collector in his office.
In the past 12 months, he said, while already wrangling changes with the one sticker-two step program for vehicle registration and inspection, tax offices were informed by the state that beginning in March, the office must deny services to people who owe back child support. [“American Poverty: An American Criminal Subclass“, “Unemployment, Child Support & Bradley Law“, “Bradley Law and Real Justice“]
Smyth said there was also talk that two more mandates might be added in the next six months.
“We had a conference in June in Lubbock and there was no mention of what was going to be dropped on us in November in San Marcos,” Smyth told the court.
“You can only push bureaucracy so far to a certain point, and then something has to be compromised,” he said, likening the situation to an employee at a restaurant who was running a register, taking orders, cooking and cleaning.
In that situation the business’ service, food and reputation could be compromised, he said.
“It’s the same thing in county government, it’s the same thing. We’re trying to provide optimum services to the citizens of Wichita County. I think we do a Cracker Jack job of it. We’ve got Cracker Jack staff, but we’re not in control,” Smyth said.
Several problems arise from the tax offices serving as a filter for child support enforcement, he said.
Smyth noted that if the state attorney general’s office had been successful in finding these people delinquent on child support, the people would have been notified already instead of pushing it onto the tax offices.
“More than likely when that somebody walks up to our window and one of our deputies says, ‘Sir/madam, we cannot do your transaction.’ They bought a $58,000 pickup, but can’t do tax and license on it, it’s going to get very contentious,” Smyth said.
Another problem could be the merging of another database and software download.
In March the office merged with the Department of Public Safety’s system.
Smyth said they have run into situations at times with the one sticker-two step system where the other entity did not do a download of their software and the system was not up to date.
He gave a possible example of someone who paid child support on a Friday, then comes in Monday to register vehicle, but the system was not up to date in showing the individual’s payment.
“When that individual comes in our office, we have to decline them. Well, the minute you decline somebody, you inherit a very contentious situation,” he said.
“The call volume that we associate with this child support, I can’t even get my arms around it. I mean, I have no idea,” Smyth said of the calls and complaints the tax office could receive about the new mandate.