Frisco’s mayor said publicly yesterday he expects State Rep. Jared Patterson (R–Frisco) to vote against a popular property tax reform proposal that mirrors a 2018 ballot referendum supported by more than 90 percent of Republican primary voters.

On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen made a joint announcement in support of letting Texans vote on annual tax hikes in excess of 2.5 percent. Patterson took to Facebook to explain why he supports letting constituents have a greater say over their property taxes.

Patterson also recommended constituents look at their tax bills, rather than their tax rates. Even if a local taxing entity such as a city or county keeps its property tax rate flat year over year, tax bills paid by homeowners would still increase if property valuations rise.

Patterson wrote, “[I]f your property value increases your rate should decrease enough to offset the rise in value –  so that the actual property tax check you write is the exact same amount.”

Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney responded to Patterson stating, “Frisco is counting on you to oppose this…The public is watching closely who represents the interests of their community and who represents political nonsense.”

Patterson and Cheney engaged in a brief discussion until Cheney challenged Patterson to an open debate. Patterson countered by offering to co-host a townhall so both could hear from taxpayers.

This is not the first time Cheney and other Frisco officials have opposed taxpayers. Last month they voted against the wishes of local residents by offering a special deal to a billionaire developer.

On the night of that vote, Cheney told taxpayers, “We also have to weigh the concerns and desires of our other partners that we represent.” By “partners,” the mayor was referring to the developer.

Data from the Collin County Appraisal District shows the average homeowner living in the Collin County portion of Frisco saw their city property tax bill jump 40 percent from 2008 to 2016. For Frisco residents living in Denton County, according to the Denton Appraisal District, the average city tax bill rose 30 percent from 2008 to 2018.

Cheney is not the only local official to oppose reforms designed to give taxpayers more control over their tax bills. City and county officials—along with their taxpayer-funded lobbyists—descended upon Austin in 2017 to oppose a similar measure. But they’ll be warring against a united governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the House in 2019.

“Previous efforts to give our taxpayers the support and reform they deserve, local entities have chosen to pit the House versus the Senate, and the governor somewhere in between the discussion,” Speaker Bonnen said at Thursday’s joint press conference. “We ask you to come to the table and work with us on behalf of the taxpayers we both represent, but you will not be dividing the House and the Senate and the Governor on the solution.”

Whether or not Texas lawmakers will side with Cheney and local governments over their own taxpaying constituents remains to be seen.

Mayor: Jeff Cheney
Phone: 972-292-5050

State Rep. (Frisco): Jared Patterson
Email: Contact page.
Phone: (512) 463-0694


Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.