Clay Jenkins Holding Two Hearings to Discuss Dallas County Tax Relief

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On Thursday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins sent out an email announcing two public hearings to discuss lowering the tax rate in Dallas County down to 22.638 per $100 valuation from 24.31. He says that, because the county is flush with cash from all our increased property values, this can be done and still generate a 3% pay hike for county employees.

This is very interesting coming on the heels of SOME Dallas County Commissioners asking for a whopping 8% pay hike.

I highly recommend you attend one of these. We certainly will. I have an email flying over to Judge Jenkins right now.

Property taxes have hit moderate income levels particularly hard this year. Home values may have increased, but that doesn’t help you unless you are selling. State law prohibits the annual rise in taxable property values from exceeding 10 percent for homeowners who claim homestead exemptions, that is, who live in their homes. If you have investment properties, you will pay through the nose and probably are. (You will likely raise the rent to cover.) Even with those limits, as total assessed values climb higher this all but guarantees future tax increases for homeowners, even those who hit age 65.

An analysis by the Dallas Morning News in May showed who has been hit the heaviest: the middle class, or folks in homes priced below $250,000:

While most Dallas County home values rose by less than 10 percent this year, the middle class, with homes worth $100,000 to $250,000, saw a higher increase of 11.2 percent. And the wealthy, with homes valued at over $1 million, saw a median increase of just 7.5 percent, The News found.

Changing home values by price

The median middle-class home in Dallas County increased in value by 11.2 percent from 2015 to 2016 — far more than the typical change in any other price category.


Source: Dallas Central Appraisal District

Also, homeowners were more likely to see their property taxes go up than owners of commercial properties: 73 percent of homeowners vs. 30 percent of commercial properties. The reason for this is that commercial properties consistently fight appraisals using seasoned tax consultants, as do the owners of higher priced homes.

And you can see, now, why seasoned, sophisticated buyers try to keep listings out of MLS: to keep their tax burden at bay. Not saying it’s the right thing to do, just saying I get it.

I truly applaud Judge Jenkins for making this effort. Jump to read his entire email…

Judge Jenkin’s email:

The real estate market is hot in Dallas County, and appraised values have risen over 10%. These are signs of a strengthening and growing economy, but unless local government cuts the tax rate, this year will be the largest tax burden increase in our county’s history!  The steep increases in valuation are putting tremendous pressure on renters and homeowners. Average monthly rent on a two-bedroom apartment in Dallas County rose from $967 to $1,101 this year. Unlike past years, the highest percentage appraisal increases are hitting homes valued at $250,000 or less!

Fortunately, we can fully fund our budget priorities AND give meaningful tax relief. If tax relief is important to you, the members of Commissioners Court need to hear from you.

The Commissioners’ contact information is below:

District 1               Dr. Theresa Daniel  

District 2              Mike Cantrell            

County Judge      Clay Jenkins              

District 3              John Wiley Price      

District 4              Dr. Elba Garcia         

The first of two required public hearings on the tax rates will be held next Tuesday, August 16 at 9 am at 411 Elm Dallas Texas 75202. In order to speak, you must register by 4:00 pm on Monday, August 15 by calling (214)653-7165 or signing up online at Your opinions are respected and important. 

I hope community leaders will contact the commissioners with their thoughts before the August 16 hearing and sign up a spokesperson(s) to attend the hearing. The second required public hearing is September 6, 2016

Below is more detailed information and my proposal for tax relief. 

Tax values went up 10.07% in Dallas County. This is the largest valuation increase ever. Without tax relief, it will be the largest tax burden increase ever.


I’m proposing the county tax rate be set at the effective rate, which would effectively generate the same amount of tax payment from each taxpayer on average as last year (0% increase). The new county rate would be 22.638 per $100 valuation, down from the current 24.31.  

The effective rate fully funds all budgeted items and provides a 3% structure raise to county employees. This pay increase is possible due to new construction being added to the tax rolls. The Commissioners Court has five members.  Commissioner Mike Cantrell supports the effective rate; however, a third vote is needed for tax relief. 


Because of changes in state and federal funding and obligations to bondholders on the new Parkland Hospital, it is unlikely the Commissioners Court will take Parkland to the effective rate. We can fund Parkland’s budget and provide tax relief by reducing Parkland’s rate from 28.6 cents per $100 valuation to 27.94 to capture the budgeted amount before the unexpected property valuations were released. This is the same percentage the City of Dallas is proposing in their tax reduction effort. 

If we are going to fund our priorities and pass property tax relief, we are going to have to work together. I hope you will make your voice heard.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve and for any help you can give to pass meaningful local tax relief this year!


Clay Lewis Jenkins

Dallas County Judge


      Paid for by Jenkins for County Judge Campaign, George “Tex” Quesada, Treasurer

Support Dallas County Tax Relief!


Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature, and, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

Reader Interactions


  1. dormand long says

    I suggest that you poll Dallas County residents to see if improvements in services is not more important than lowest taxes(2)

    Dormand <dormandl

    To Today at 1:38 PM

    With web polling services such as Survey Monkey available at such low costs, governance
    can be improved by getting input from constituents rather than just assuming that the very lowest
    taxes and marginal quality municipal services were preferred by the majority of taxpayers.

    The account numbers from the Dallas County Appraisal District can be used to limit ballot box
    stuffing, but participative management could provide vastly improved public policies.

    The global acclaim of Dallas being "The City That Works" was made possible by the Goals For Dallas
    initiative, which involved getting input from over 100,000 Dallasites as to their priorities. Mayor J. Erik
    Jonnson then gave those overriding goals the priority in budgeting and scheduling.


  2. John Sieber says

    It is all one big equation, press on one side and the other side will give. I can see where a real estate agent might not like how sales price inflation would be contained because property taxes are getting higher, ie., it slows their ever increasing commissions. Pressure on the equation also helps move those over-housed for their income level into more appropriate housing and helps increase density as large estate properties are diced up into parcels people can afford. Would you rather pay an agents commissions and take a bigger loan with the bank or pay the local government for services. The real question is are you getting your money’s worth for the property taxes your paying?

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