There is no money — why won’t anyone at City Hall listen?

I’ve been writing about this since 2008. Outside experts have been insisting it was true for the past couple of years. And now the man who oversees property tax appraisals for Dallas County says there is no money: Prepare for two more years of flat or decreasing property tax values, he told the city council this week. The city gets about 43 percent of its revenue from the property tax.

My column in the June magazine discusses this in relation to the mayoral runoff, and why the candidates are tip-toeing around the budget crisis. Like the council, they’re terrified that something bad will happen to them if they admit the truth. Which, in the case of the council, it should, because this is their fault. The council, led by former Mayor Park Cities (who was trying to spend our money en route to the U.S. Senate) could have prevented much of this by cutting spending in the 2008-09 budget. Instead, they raised it by almost 5 percent, oblivious to the world financial collapse going on around them.

But the two mayoral candidates, former park president Mike Rawlings and ex-police chief David Kunkel, should not have those same concerns. They weren’t in government then, and it would be refreshing — and dare I say politically advantageous? — to be forthright with voters. It would be refreshing to hear something other than political consultant spin and talk about the DISD.


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