Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins

That headline is not entirely accurate now, because, after Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins told me this morning that no one has signed up to speak on lowering the tax rate, I signed up. But others should, too. As I told him, most taxpayers will likely be at work — in their offices, in the courtroom, in the hospital — making money to pay those higher taxes.

Why is it so important to attend tomorrow’s meeting? As we told you last week, property taxes are way up and have hit everyone, particularly moderate income level wage earners, particularly hard this year. Home values may have increased, but that doesn’t help you unless you are selling and moving to a less pricey area. 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. And you, like me, will likely raise the rent to cover.

Which means: this is the bottom rung in making housing ever more untouchable, unaffordable.

That is what Judge Jenkins told me this morning as we talked about tomorrow’s meeting: (more…)

John Wiley Price's Home at 406 E. 5th Street in North Oak Cliff

John Wiley Price’s Home in North Oak Cliff

Get out the smelling salts, you surely are going to faint: Dallas County Commissioners, SOME Dallas County Commissioners, are asking for an 8% pay raise, netting them $157,000 a year (up from $145,474 currently) because the county is flush with money from the property taxes we are all paying through the nose for, thanks to our beefed up values. They are also asking for pay raises for county judges, sheriffs, tax assessor, treasurer, constables, district clerks, county clerks and justices of the peace.

I am just amazed. And guess who says he needs it the most because he works so hard, seven days a week?

Commissioner John Wiley Price, the one Commissioner accused of taking bribes from county contractors, who is facing a federal corruption trial in February, and whose legal defense counsel the state is paying for (he must contribute $80,000) because he “couldn’t afford it.” The DCAD market value on Price’s North Oak Cliff home is $169, 420. He pays $4645.22 in total taxes, $428.80 to Dallas County.

(Price has denied the corruption charges. The FBI surprise raided his home in June of 2011.)

“I work seven days a week,” Price said. “I’ll put my work ethic up against any of my colleagues, here or anywhere else.”

This is just so typical, the way government largess works: they get more money, and whose pockets get lined first?

How about returning it to the taxpayer?

Or what about so many other things that could be done with that money besides fattening one’s own bank account? How selfish can these people be when there are thousands of homeless people in Dallas, including 3600 children?

Who else can have a job where they can vote themselves a raise and stick their hand in the cookie jar anytime they fancy?

Answer: a Dallas County Commissioner.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has a brain, and a heart: (more…)

Ames 5

 “Our family home caught fire on February 16, 2015 at 1 am.  We were fortunate that my wife, two children and mother-in-law were all able to escape unharmed.  I was in Austin on county business at the time.  The fire was caused by an electrical shortage.  After much consideration, we decided to rebuild our home and construction began in October 2015.  On January 1, 2016, when the house was appraised by DCAD, the house was only partially constructed with a new roof, new windows and interior studs.  The house is still under construction and we hope to move back into the home this summer.  In January 2017, DCAD will revalue the home and it will be 100% complete.”

 John R. Ames, PCC, CTA

Tax Assessor/Collector

Dallas County Tax Office

P: 214-653-7630 F: 214-653-7887

Ames 4

I knew there was a good (well, in this case, terrible) reason, because John is, as I said, one of best Tax Appraisers/Collectors we have ever had. Under his watch the office has become much more efficient, the clerks are friendly and polite, and well, maybe he ought to interview for the new management job available over at Dallas City Hall.

Ames 8

I tried calling John at the Tax office yesterday five times, never could get through because everyone was (probably) calling about their property taxes. May 31 was the last day to protest appraisals. Some tax consultants tell me they were getting calls at 2 and 3 in the morning. People sometimes confuse the Central Appraisal District office with John’s office down on Elm. He does not oversee appraisals, he administers the Tax Collectors office.

(more…)

DCAD on the road1
Comes word from our on-staff Tax Doctor, Rob Wheelock, of Property Tax Managers, that it’s that time of the year AGAIN: property tax appraisals.
2015 Property Tax Statements are usually mailed out starting the first week of October, and they have been for all non-homesteaded properties. But the Dallas County Appraisal District is holding back on mailing out notices of appraised value on HOMESTEADED properties because of the November 3 election that will increase the homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000, if approved by voters. 
Think it’s going to be approved? I sure do!

The Texas Homestead Exemption for School District Property Taxes Amendment, Proposition 1 is on the November 3, 2015 ballot in Texas as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment.[1]

The measure would increase the homestead exemption from property taxes levied by school districts from $15,000 to $25,000.[2]

Depending on their district, homeowners would save an average of between $120 and $130 per year, which would cost the state about $1.2 billion in tax revenue for school districts over two years. Senate Joint Resolution 1, the enabling legislation, would make up for the lost revenue by entitling school districts to additional state aid from the Foundation School Fund.[3]

The proposition also maintains the additional $10,000 exemption for seniors and disabled homeowners already awarded under current law, along with the proposed increase for all other homeowners.

The exemption was last increased in 1997, when voters approved Proposition 1.[4]

The amendment would take effect January 1, 2015.[1]

The Dallas County Appraisal District wisely thought of saving money with only ONE mailing. They are saving paper, as well. I imagine it’s the same in Tarrant and Collin Counties, yes?
Smart people. I wish they could teach the folks at the IRS a few lessons about resource savings…