Maybe you are a homeowner with substantial acreage in your possession. Maybe you have a nice fence with which you might makes "good" neighbors of those whom you may want to keep off your land. Maybe you then built a small barn or a shed but forgot to mention it to your county appraiser and regulatory offices by applying for a building permit.
Don't worry. You'll still be paying through the nose. The tax man has found a new way to get you and its called Google.
The bean counters and taxmongers in Hidalgo County, Texas have found a new way to find out if you've built a structure for which you didn't get a building permit if your property happens not to be visible from the streets upon which these tax men have traditionally prowled.
Google Earth, the satellite mapping service, is their startling new method. From now on if the taxing bodies in Hidalgo can't access your property or were unaware that you built a structure that requires the heavy hand of government regulation, then they'll just Google you on the spy satellite service to see if your land has any structures not previously noted by property tax records.
County taxers will then use computer measuring tools to assess the new structure and adjust your property values according to their ideas of what the project is worth causing your taxes to rise. No doubt these same images will be used to determine if fines and prosecution should be considered, as well.
And, proving once again that our colleges and universities are more of a menace than anything else, this bright idea came to Hidalgo County authorities from professor Brad Altemeyer's class at South Texas College.
So, government has a whole new way to invade your privacy, swoop in upon your hearth and home, and place its boot heel on your neck.
Would it be so bad if modern tax men found as they plied their odious trade the tar and feathers that awaited their 1770s forbearers?