There is an affordability crisis in Texas, and local governments are making it worse.
With bloated budgets and reckless spending, cities are making it difficult for Texans to own a home and raise a family.
The city of Dallas, for example, recently passed a nearly $5 billion budget—the largest in the city’s history. The budget technically lowers the property tax rate by .35 of one cent. However, due to rising property values, taxpayers can expect their tax bills to increase by around 8%.
Even Dallas’s (formerly) Democratic Mayor, Eric Johnson, opposed the tax rate hike and spending increase:
“In an environment of such economic uncertainty for our residents and businesses, with inflation and interest rates being where they are, I simply could not vote for a budget that is the largest in the history of the city and that is paid for by raising taxes on our residents and businesses.”
Dallas isn’t the only local government to put more financial burden on taxpayers.
The city of Beaumont passed a budget that, effectively, raised tax bills by around 7%. Central Health, a hospital district in Austin, also had its 13.3% property tax increase approved by the Travis County Commissioners Court.
This greatly undermines the property tax relief passed by the Texas Legislature. Since half of the tax burden is imposed by local governments poised to raise property taxes, Texas taxpayers will be left scrambling to find genuine tax relief.
One step Texas can take is to adopt a responsible budget that restricts the budget to the maximum rate of growth plus inflation for both state and local governments. If Dallas had followed this model yearly since 2013, it would have saved $3.4 billion.
Imagine how much money local governments, the state, and, ultimately, the taxpayers will save if we just take control of reckless spending, implement a responsible budget, and get serious about fiscal responsibility.