Loophole lets refiners punt on part of tax bills

Sunday’s column began with a reference to an obscure animated short, “Bambi Meets Godzilla.” If you haven’t seen it, here it is. If you haven’t seen the column, it’s available on HoustonChronicle.com. Here’s an excerpt:

In what may be the biggest mismatch since Bambi battled Godzilla, schoolchildren in Texas City were pitted against one of the country’s biggest refiners. Not surprisingly, the schoolchildren lost – again.

A jury in Galveston recently sided with San Antonio-based Valero and slashed the appraised value of the company’s Texas City refinery by more than $189 million.

The result: The Texas City school district will have to repay about $2.5 million. The city, county and community college district combined will have to refund about the same amount.

It’s not the first time this has happened – four years ago, the district had to repay Valero almost $2.4 million – and unless lawmakers close a loophole in the state law that governs appraisals, it won’t be the last.

Read more here.


About The Author

Loren Steffy is the business columnist for the Houston Chronicle. His column appears in on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. He is also the author of "Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit," and "The Man Who Thought Like a Ship."