Tarrant County taxpayers may soon be paying more for local government.
On Monday, the Tarrant County Commissioners Court held a public meeting to discuss its proposed budget for fiscal year 2023, which totals $916 million, less capital expenditures. That represents about a $120 million increase from the prior year’s budget total ($797.2 million).
To help pay for all this new spending, county officials are proposing a 12% tax hike on area homeowners.
Here’s more from The Texan:
“Tarrant County has begin working on its budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. It proposes keeping the same property tax rate—$0.229 per $100 valuation—as was levied in the previous fiscal year, resulting in a tax increase for the average homeowner in the county…That makes the annual tax bill at the proposed rate for an average homeowner $612.25, up from $545.73 last year.”
In general, raising taxes is a poor idea. But today, with the nation’s economy in decline, it’s the absolute wrong move. That’s something that even then-President Barack Obama recognized when, in 2009, he warned: “The last thing you want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of a recession.”
It’s also a bad idea because county officials don’t need the extra revenue. Their coffers are already full as the data shows.
In February, the Texas Public Policy Foundation released a report comparing property tax levy growth vs. population and inflation in the top 30 most populous cities, counties, and school districts. According to the report, from 2016 to 2020, Tarrant County’s property taxes grew by more than 45% whereas its population and inflation combined for just a little more than 12%. The obvious discrepancy suggests that there’s a big mismatch between how much the county is collecting in property tax revenue and how much it should be collecting. And, of course, those numbers will likely worsen if and when the county adopts its proposed tax rate.
But not all is lost. The county’s tax rate isn’t finalized yet (that will likely happen on Sept. 13). Hence, interested parties still have an opportunity to contact the Tarrant County commissioners to urge them to adopt the no-new-revenue tax rate—or something lower! If successful, maybe taxpayers can turn their attention to all those other burgeoning expenses, like gas, groceries, and rent.