As Texans battle rising inflation and high grocery bills, four of the state’s largest cities are also raising property taxes.

Analysis from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (TFR) revealed that Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio all proposed new city budgets with property taxes exceeding their no-new-revenue rates.

The no-new-revenue rate allows citizens to tell when local governments raise their property taxes.

According to the Texas comptroller, the measurement is “based on a tax rate that would produce the same amount of taxes if applied to the same properties taxed in both years.” If a city adopts a tax rate exceeding the no-new-revenue rate, citizens will pay more in property taxes the following year.

TFR first determined each city’s no-new-revenue rate based on the previous year’s tax rate, and then compared that number with the city’s newly proposed tax rate.

According to TFR’s analysis, Dallas proposed the highest increase over the no-new-revenue rate at 15.6 percent. San Antonio raised their tax rate by 12.5 percent, followed by Fort Worth’s 7.5 percent hike and Austin’s increase of 3.5 percent.

Notably, the organization called Houston’s tax disclosures “incredibly hard” to locate and received no response after reaching out to City Councilmember Amy Peck for information.

TFR President Tim Hardin also called out lawmakers for pointing to House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 2 as adequate tax relief for Texans when neither bill directly lowers citizens’ property taxes.

“As things begin to heat up and local governments continue to set their new rates and budgets, it is becoming more and more obvious that TFR’s prediction that most of these jurisdictions would NOT adopt the NNRR is coming true,” wrote Hardin.

What does this mean for taxpayers? It means the “historic property tax relief” our lawmakers keep celebrating has yet to lower anyone’s bills, nor will it in the coming year unless there is a major shift in local government fiscal responsibility in the next few months. It is safe to say that without local governments adopting the NNRR, your property tax bill WILL GO UP.

After proposing a new tax rate, cities must hold a public meeting to hear input from citizens before approving the new budget.

In response to cities across the state raising residents’ taxes over the no-new-revenue rate, Hardin called for Texans to pay attention to their local elected officials and take action against lawmakers who refuse to lower tax rates.

“If local governments refuse to lower the no-new-revenue rate, they must hold a hearing for taxpayers to give feedback. It is imperative that you protest these local governments and demand they lower our rates! If they refuse, we must vote every single one out of office,” wrote Hardin.

“The same, of course, goes for our state lawmakers, who have been trumpeting property tax relief that no one has seen for years now.”

Katy Marshall

Katy graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.