DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The proposed state budget passed out of the House days ago in Austin leaves Dallas with a potential $24 million hole to fill in its own budget, causing city leaders to dredge up the sort of tax talks no resident likes hearing.
The words “property tax hike” even came up in legislative discussions during Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
“It’s not really funding and balancing a budget,” said Dallas lobbyist Larry Castro, who added that the state’s unwillingness to fund its own mandates while wanting a bigger share of local revenue put Dallas in this hole.
“Moving the burden of state government to cities has long-term effects,” he said.
The state needs additional revenue from cities. It wants a bigger share of red light camera revenues as well as a bigger cut out of what the cities get for sales tax and alcohol taxes.
And at the same time, it’s offering less money for what it requires states to fulfill. Educators have already been warned. It seems as if cities are next on the list.
“In reality, what we’re looking at is a tax increase, no question about it,” said Councilman Jerry Allen, finally addressing the elephant in the room Wednesday.
In an interview later in the day, Allen said the $24 million hole may represent a 2-cent property tax hike if the council had to go that direction.
“$24 million, it’s going to affect our libraries, it’s going to affect our cars, it’s going to affect the whole city,” he said.
And at least one Dallas resident is firmly opposed, especially after the city raised the property tax rate by 6.5 cents per $100 valuation last September.
“In order to make it up, I would be against any tax increase at this moment,” said resident Ralph Biloski. “Because of the situation we’ve just been through with more recent tax increases.”
The Senate will adapt a final version of the state budget, and Castro expects it to greatly differ from what was passed in the House.