Property Tax Notices Give Homeowners Sticker Shock, Governor Puts Reform on Local Plates

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It’s property tax appraisal notice season. Did you need a stiff drink after opening yours?

Property tax appraisal notices appeared in mailboxes this week, causing many cases of the vapors all around the Dallas-Fort Worth region as homeowners saw higher tax bills during a time of extreme economic uncertainty. The amount of Tito’s Handmade Vodka consumed as a result was not immediately clear.

But one thing is certain — both Gov. Greg Abbott and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins both think taxes are too high. Where they disagree is how best to handle it.

Gov. Abbott Urges Local Authorities to Lower Tax Rates

In a letter responding to members of the Texas Congressional delegation, Abbott said that raising taxes is never the answer, especially during a pandemic.

However, in his letter, Abbott outright refused to act on the Congressional members’ request: to freeze property tax appraisals at last year’s levels.

As you know, local governments—not the State of Texas—set the property tax rates, and they are the ones responsible for an increase (or, ideally, decrease) in property taxes. The state, for example, took the unprecedented step last year in reducing school property tax rates, and requiring those rates to continue to decline as property values increase.

Gov. Greg Abbott

Dallas County Judge Says Property Taxes are ‘Ridiculous’ And That Everyone Should Protest

In an editorial appearing in the Dallas Morning News, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said something you don’t often hear from elected officials:

“You can tell people Judge Jenkins said everybody file a protest. When the head of the government is telling you to protest the property tax bill you just got in the mail that ought to tell you what the government thinks.”

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins

Jenkins was also one to ask Abbott to freeze property tax appraisals for the coming year and was also rebuffed by the state’s top executive.

There’s no word from Jenkins or any members of the Dallas County Commissioners Court as to whether they will address skyrocketing appraisals with lower tax rates.

Regardless, the deadline to protest your property taxes is June 15. For information on property taxes and how to protest, check out our archives.

Unemployment Claims Continue to Climb

Meanwhile, the city is facing a looming homeless crisis as protections against evictions in the Dallas area are phased out while unemployment continues to climb.

Unemployment claims for the week ending on May 16 shot up by 130,800, bringing the total unemployment claims since March 21 to 2.1 million, according to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

The center, which just celebrated its 49th year (happy birthday to you!), recently released its Outlook for the Texas Economy. In the report, it said that unemployment was at 4.7 percent in the Lone Star State, with non-farm employment shedding 50,900 jobs in March alone.

However, unemployment claims are slowly receding, though still high.

“These are still worrisome unemployment numbers, but there is some hope as the numbers continue to fall.”

Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. Luis Torres.​

​Unemployment in the state could be as high as 18.7 percent for the month of May, the Real Estate Center reported. The Dallas-Fort Worth area posted the highest level of unemployment, the report showed.

Using data from the DOL and the Employment and Training Administration, the Center estimates that from March 21 to May 9 nearly 439,500 seasonally adjusted claims were filed in Dallas-Fort Worth. That is the highest ​of Texas’ major metros. 

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Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for CandysDirt.com. While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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Comments

  1. Mack Browning says

    Clay Jenkins tax reduction theater will make The Muppet Movie look like Shakespeare by comparison.

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