Texas lawmakers fail to act on West Dallas housing crisis

State lawmakers stayed with the status quo in killing a proposal last week that would’ve given tax breaks to ordinary homeowners in West Dallas.

Instead, only wealthy developers will continue to receive millions in tax reimbursements while driving up assessments in nearby blue collar neighborhoods.

State Rep. Eric Johnson had proposed legislation in the Texas House of Representatives that would’ve taken some of the taxpayer funds earmarked for Trinity Groves and instead used that money to fix residential streets, assist families in moving to other areas or pay for affordable housing, according to the Texas Tribune.

Johnson’s bill also would’ve required West Dallas residences to be assessed for tax purposes without regard for nearby development.

Besides the immediate housing crisis for dozens of families on the brink of eviction in West Dallas, their tax assessments have tripled. The Texas Tribune offers the example of neighbor Pete Hernandez:

The Dallas Central Appraisal District has already notified him that his house and its land are now appraised at $75,690 — nearly triple the $26,360 they were valued at last year. Hernandez estimates that’ll make his property tax bill cost about $2,300, well above the $800 or so he previously paid. The 57-year-old said he’s not sure yet how he’ll cover this year’s bill. And he’s not alone. Many area residents fear they may have to move elsewhere in a city with dwindling affordable housing options.

But the Texas Legislature showed no mercy for working class West Dallas. They killed the bill Friday, and Johnson posted on social media:

In the end, having absolutely no allies in this fight but, rather, some very wealthy and relentless opponents who were successful in convincing those who are supposed to be serving West Dallas to instead hand over West Dallas, proved to be too much for me to overcome.

Find his full post below.


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