Dear Friends and Media,
This prompted congratulations from Governor Abbot, who tweeted: “It’s best for property owners and great for attracting more good paying jobs to your wonderful city. You are a model for other cities.”
The proposed 8% rate, of course, is far higher than the 3.5% yearly cap imposed by the Texas Legislature last year; but there is an exception when there is a declaration of a state or federal disaster, and Texas (along with the entire country) is currently under a disaster declaration.
The City Council thus had the power to bypass the voter approval process but instead opted to cut the City budget drastically in order meet the revenue shortfall.
DALLAS VS. EL PASO
El Paso is facing a budget shortfall of $26.4M in FY 2019-2020 and $86.4M in FY 2020-2021. Dallas faces a shortfall of $25M this fiscal year and between $73M and$134M next fiscal year.
El Paso has furloughed 400 employees and Dallas has furloughed 472.
But whereas the Dallas City Council is committed to cutting government in order to balance its budget during this crisis, the El Paso City Council has so far failed to come up with a comprehensive plan to fix its deficit through FY 2020-2021. In fact, I don’t think our City has properly calculated how much our deficit will be.
It is interesting to note that the total homestead property tax rate in Dallas is 2.72% whereas in El Paso it is an obscenely high 3.07%, the second highest in America among the 50 largest cities. The City portion of that tax has skyrocketed 38% since 2014, far faster than the four other taxing entities, even as our population has flatlined!
During the pre-vote discussion of the 8% property tax increase, several Dallas city reps argued forcefully against it.
By contrast, our El Paso City Council voted 8-0 to increase our City property tax 4.2% in 2017, 7-1 to increase it 7.2% in 2018, and 8-0 to increase it 6.4% in 2019. There was zero opposition. And yes, more increases are on the way.
I would suggest to our “hold the line on taxes” Mayor and financially illiterate City Council representatives that they try as hard as they can to understand that El Paso is in Texas, and that in Texas we like low taxes and small government!
They should take a lesson from Dallas and cut our City budget down to size, starting with the “Arena”, waterparks and corporate welfare for our local developers!