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.