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Dallas Eyes Big Property Tax Increase to Cover COVID-19 Losses

Dallas will need voter approval to overcome tax increase obstacles put in place by the Texas State Legislature.
May 31, 2020, 5am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Dallas is feeling COVID-19′s financial impact, and now officials may consider raising property taxes to shore up next year’s budget," reports Obed Manuel.

City Council members are considering a resolution that would set the stage to raise city’s property tax revenue grew by 8%. "The Texas Legislature last year capped property tax revenue increases at 3.5%. Anything higher than that requires voter approval," according to Manuel.

The City Council deliberates as the city prepares to deal with a loss of annual revenue somewhere between $73 million and $134 million as a consequence of the pandemic, according to the article. 

For context of the tax revenue situation in Dallas relative to the other large cities in Texas, a new report by the Kinder Institute for Urban Research compares the tax structure of Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, predicting that all three will have to reduce service as a result of declining revenue in 2020. Each of the three largest Texan cities will encounter constraints when trying to generate new sources of revenue to make up the difference, but the report specifically notes that new state law limiting property tax increases in the case of both Dallas and San Antonio. 

Houston's constraints "include the locally imposed revenue cap, the lack of a solid waste collection fee, the fact that the city maintains its own health department and the sequestering of general fund revenues for public works under ReBuild Houston," according to the report.

For national context, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy has created a new report to follow developments in property tax policies as cities deal with the financial consequences of the pandemic (in addition to gathering past work on property tax together as a resource for COVID-19). The "Property Tax and COVID-19" report is available to read online for free.

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Published on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 in The Dallas Morning News
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