Sunday, April 20, 2008

Long horns

There is an interesting game that companies play. Well, at least they do it here in North Dallas. Maybe they play this everywhere. Texas has cheap land. We rarely build up. Only in the major cities is there anything over about ten stories. It is cheaper to go buy up some land and build a new building. If you need to house a company, they build a campus. Lots of land, spread out building. They started doing that here in North Dallas, a long time ago. About ten or twenty years back, they decided to build up in far North Dallas. Around Plano, Frisco area. Now what was here before, was farm and ranch land. So what these companies figured out was that they could play a tax game. You buy up a big chunk of land. You then parcel out just enough to build your building and parking lot. You then pay a rancher to run some cows on everything that is left. Or hire a farmer, maybe even the guy you bought it from, so plow it and plant something. So you pay about three cent for taxes on agricultural land. As it compared to a “company campus” or commercial use. It leaves a lot of land with trees, green spaces, maybe some crops or some cows. They also do something, like build a walking trail in the area. Meanwhile, the land all around is being slowly bought up for other company campuses or shopping areas or houses and school. And the company sits there laughing all the way to the bank and tax office. One international company even had some buffalo out there for a while.
I drive by one of the pieces of land and snapped a photo. Real Texas Long Horn steers. Taken out the window as I drive down a SIX lane road. Notice over the trees, some corporate HQ. And, off to the right of the photo, is the Dallas North Toll Way. All ten lanes, plus access roads. The long horns look bored. But then all cows look bored.

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