A fight over property taxes is brewing in Dallas County between a lone Republican and the Democrat majority.

While Democrats are fighting over how much to raise taxes – and their own salaries – Republican Commissioner Mike Cantrell is fighting for a political compromise—to keep government the same size.

In a statement released to the Texas Scorecard, Cantrell wants the county to adopt the “effective” tax rate for both its own operating budget and Parkland Hospital’s, which the court also oversees.

“I am supporting the effective rate for Dallas County and for Parkland Hospital. I strongly believe that both entities can continue to operate on the same amount of taxes collected last year plus the additional increase that results from new construction.”

Cost of living adjustments for existing staff, or pay increases, should be realized by trimming other parts of the budget, Cantrell emphasized.

“As for pay increases or additional staff, they should only be approved if the dollars necessary for the increases are paid for through cuts in the current budget. Government should be decreasing not increasing taxes.”

Despite what the Dallas Morning News insists on misreporting, adopting the “effective” tax rate doesn’t mean the county’s revenue “wouldn’t change.” They’re just plain wrong on the facts.

According to the Texas Legislature’s “Truth in Taxation” laws, the “effective” rate allows a local government to collect roughly the same tax revenue from the same properties it also taxed in the previous year. It still gets increased revenue from new properties added to the tax rolls.

Simply put, adopting the effective rate would keep the overall tax burden on existing taxpayers the same, while allowing the county and its hospital to collect new revenue from new properties added to the tax rolls, either as a result of population growth or from new economic development.

Since any rate higher than the effective rate is an overall tax increase, the state requires localities to hold two public hearings. Without this state mandate, localities could raise taxes as high as they wanted – and spread propaganda about their fiscal recklessness – without asking for public input.

By fighting for the effective rate, Cantrell is one of the few local voices advocating for fiscal responsibility and limited government. While Democrat County Judge Clay Jenkins also wants to lower the tax rate – by a lesser degree – most residents and businesses would still pay higher taxes.

Contrast that to Commissioner John Wiley Price (D), who ridiculed Jenkins by saying, “nobody’s talking [about lowering tax rates] but you.”

Democrat Commissioner Teresa Daniel also chimed in, claiming she “feel[s] the pain” of higher taxes faced by constituents, as she’s allegedly “one of those middle-class homeowners with a very modest income.” Unfortunately for Daniel, her claims couldn’t be further from the truth.

As a county commissioner, Daniel is paid over $145,000 a year in salary alone, earning an income higher than 82% of American households, and higher than 91% of local county residents.

Her generous salary is in addition to a car allowance and other ridiculously lavish benefits. But it gets even worse. With the county flush from new taxpayer cash – and their outright refusal to lower tax rates in the face of skyrocketing land values – the court is now considering raising their pay 8%, and hiking their already generous car allowance.

But don’t worry Dallas County taxpayers—at least the liberal elitists on the court “feel your pain.”

Ross Kecseg

Ross Kecseg was the president of Texas Scorecard. He passed away in 2020. A native North Texan, he was raised in Denton County. Ross studied Economics at Arizona State University with an emphasis on Public Policy and U.S. Constitutional history. Ross was an avid golfer, automotive enthusiast, and movie/music junkie. He was a loving husband and father.