Property Tax

(Courtesy the Center for Public Policy Priorities)

Yesterday morning, the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees met for several hours to review next year’s proposed budget.

It ain’t good.

And yes, being able to maintain the great strides the district is making is going to cost money that may only be available through a tax ratification election — meaning superintendent Michael Hinojosa is proposing for the third time (maybe three times is a charm) that the board consider sending a 13 cent property tax increase to the voters come November.

I mean, you can only cut so much before you have, as Hinojosa said yesterday, cut your way to the bottom.

It’ll be an uphill climb. People will blame the district. People will ask what the heck the district does with all its money, and how it can afford to open new schools and start a transportation department and still apparently poor mouth the taxpayers.

So let’s talk about that. (more…)

property tax

Dallas ISD trustees will discuss a tax ratification election that would send a potential 6-cent property tax hike to voters. (Photo by iStock)

Before we start, let me say that as a homeowner, I’m about as excited about a potential property tax hike as I am a yearly Pap smear.

But I also know that, like a Pap smear, sometimes things you dislike you do anyway because they’re good for you.  It’s uncomfortable, you have to worry for an indeterminant amount of time regarding the results, and sometimes you have to go back to discuss them because they’re not quite right.

No. Nobody wants their property taxes to go up. But I will go on record as saying since the Texas legislature won’t adequately fund public education, I’ll gladly pay more.

OK, no, I won’t gladly. That was a total lie.

(more…)

Dallas ISD will likely ask voters to approve a 13-cent property tax increase in November, its first in almost a decade. (Photo by Flickr/Stuart Pilbrow

Dallas ISD will likely ask voters to approve a 13-cent property tax increase in November, its first in almost a decade. (Photo by Flickr/Stuart Pilbrow)

Hooboy. I’ve gotten some heated emails about the Dallas Independent School District’s announcement that it would be asking voters for a 13-cent increase in property taxes come November.

And I get it. But I also think that many of the folks that emailed me, or that I’ve seen railing against it on social media, have only read the headline. Why do I think this?

Because frankly, all they know is that it’s going up. They can’t tell you how much. They can’t tell me how the measure will be structured. They can’t even tell me if the current rate is too high, or too low.

So it’s clear we need to unpack this. If you want some excellent reasons and information, Eric Celeste and Corbett Smith have already outlined quite a bit. And let me say upfront that as a homeowner, I’m not too jazzed about my bill going up. But as I’ve said elsewhere while hiding in my car from my family while recording a podcast, education is infrastructure. And we have to start treating it like infrastructure.

I know we just passed a bond. But if you do or don’t recall, many felt that bond election should’ve included a small tax increase then, to expand pre-K. It didn’t, because people felt that if a tax was attached, people would vote no on the whole thing.

But if you read no other paragraph than this, read this one: You do not have to vote yes for the entire 13-cent increase. Yes, everyone that knows what’s going on in Dallas ISD would like and hope you do vote for it. But three proposals will go to the voters: a 5-cent increase to fund pre-K expansion, a 4-cent increase to increase the college prep program that will ensure that more district graduates graduate with two years of free college under their belts, and a 4-cent increase to fund teacher pay increases and incentives for some of the district’s best educators that agree to go some of the district’s lowest-performing schools.  Again, that totals 13 cents. But you don’t have to vote yes for all of it (but seriously, you should). (more…)