Fort Worth’s latest budget proposed under Mayor Betsy Price’s administration is reminiscent of the purple session of the 2019 Texas Legislature, spending taxpayer money on Democrat initiatives while hiking homeowners’ property tax bills.
According to data from the Tarrant Appraisal District, Fort Worth’s proposed tax rate for 2019 would increase the average homeowner’s city property tax bill 42.8 percent from just six years ago, from $835 to $1,193.
The budget creates and funds a “Diversity & Inclusion” department with $942,111 of taxpayers’ money. Councilman Cary Moon points out that it also spends $250,000 hiring a “Police Monitor” to create a Civilian Police Review Board that Moon says “we as a mayor and council have not yet voted ‘for or against.’”
The Diversity & Inclusion department is described in the budget as being designed to “cultivate an inclusive work environment, pursue equity in municipal service delivery and distribution of resources, eliminate barriers to access, and to protect and promote human rights and equal opportunity for all populations.”
The Civilian Police Review Board is an idea pushed before by Democrats, one that the City of Dallas has had multiple issues with in the past. Tim Lynch, director of the Cato Institute’s Project on Criminal Justice, wrote in 2017 that civilian review boards are usually ineffective at providing police oversight.
“The idea of civilian review always sounds appealing because it has this connotation of democratic governance,” wrote Lynch. “But when you look into the way it actually works, it can be ineffective as far as serious accountability for police departments.”
Lynch also says these boards usually serve no other purpose than to distract citizens from where the problem truly lies—the mayor and the city council. If there is a problem with how the police are operating, then citizens already have a “review board” in their city council members and mayor, who have the power to oversee and enforce policy on the police department. Review boards do not do this.
Taxpayers still have time to voice their concerns about the budget to Mayor Price and council members at a public hearing at Fort Worth City Hall on September 10 at 7 p.m. City Council is expected to vote on the new budget on September 17.