FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2020
AUSTIN - House Ways & Means Chairman Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) and Senate Property Tax Committee Chairman Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) are lauding the overwhelming vote by the Dallas City Council to reject formally looking at a huge property tax increase on City of Dallas Taxpayers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 11-3 vote this week saw Mayor Johnson and 10 council members block a resolution promoted by the Texas Municipal League to consider an 8% rollback rate against Senate Bill 2's 3.5% for Cities and Counties above 30,000 in population. Governor Abbott has stated he believes the 3.5% rollback rate is in effect, and Lt. Governor Patrick has warned against major property tax bill increases in the Fall.
Chairman Bettencourt said, "It is preposterous public policy to be looking at putting a 'maximum smash' on 'Big D' taxpayers, and it was a good day to see the State's second largest city council reject that proposal overwhelmingly."
Reporting on the vote from WFAA in Dallas it was noted that Mayor Eric Johnson highlighted that it was “unsettling” to be considering raising the property tax rate before any discussion of cutting the bureaucracy and/or salary cuts. Chairman Burrows agreed, adding: “By rejecting an attempt by some to exceed the 3.5% statutory rate, Mayor Johnson and the City of Dallas rightfully decided to follow the law and have mercy on struggling taxpayers. Today, more than ever, Texans need tax relief, not tax hikes. I expect other local elected officials to read about what happened in Dallas and do the same."
As noted by Elizabeth Reich, the City’s Chief Financial Officer, the average home value in the City of Dallas in $303,000 in 2020. Calculations by the Senate Property Tax Committee indicate that if they had implemented a property tax rate at the maximum 8% rollback it would have caused an increase of $150 in the City portion of their property tax bill alone. If they move back to the 3.5% maximum as set in Senate Bill 2, that increase would be no more than $65. The City portion accounts for about 27% of a Dallas resident's property tax bill.
Dallas City Council Member Omar Narvaez chimed in as well say that that they are “scaring the heck out of people”. Council Member Cara Mendelsohn added that “We would be creating the next disaster for the city of Dallas, even thinking about an eight percent rate is so out of bounds…." Councilmember Gates added, “It is not the time to burden our residents with a tax increase."
“Let's not scare taxpayers or go out of bounds with massive tax increase in 'Big D', or anywhere else in the State of Texas," said Senator Bettencourt. “I’m pleased to see Dallas City Council join Longview's which rejected the Texas Municipal League resolution unanimously! Taxpayers will not tolerate property tax increases of the size TML is advocating for in the Fall," he concluded.