The Unrepentant Tax-Hiker.

Out of the hunt: So, District 14 council member Angela Hunt isn't running for mayor. Guess that means we can still be nice to her for a while. It does seem a bit odd, though, that the popular, anti-establishment Hunt, widely considered to be a serious contender for the mayor's job, has so far drawn the largest field of opponents for re-election to her council seat. Why do four challengers think they can bump her off?

Could it be that tax vote last summer? Hunt joined with minority council members on an 8-7 vote to raise the property tax rate 6.5 percent. Already, two of Hunts' opponents in her District 14 race, Chad Lasseter and James Nowlin, have said they wouldn't raise taxes, with Lasster saying he "would never vote to raise property taxes." Buzz's mother told us only a fool says "never," and that promise seems a bit constricting, but then Buzz is a pinko. We actually like some of the things government does.

Is Hunt worried that the tax vote could come back to haunt her in her re-election bid, and did the chance of being labeled a tax-raiser influence her decision not to run for mayor?

Nope. No way. Hunt is unrepentant.

"It needed to be done," she says. "It had to be done just to maintain city services."

Hunt points out that the city had forestalled fundamental street maintenance for three years already, and unless City Hall was willing to step up and raise some money for repairs, Dallas was facing a huge bill for added costs down the line. Besides, the current city operating budget is already 17 percent smaller than it was 10 years ago, Hunt says, and she was hearing from her district's well-organized neighborhood associations that their members actually liked things like parks, pavement and public libraries. She seemed unconcerned that the tax vote will play as a major issue in her campaign.

One of the chief reasons she's not running for mayor, she said, is that it's difficult for a sitting council member to become mayor and lead council members who once were co-equals. "That person goes to the head of the class," Hunt says, dragging her record and her interactions with the council along with her, making it much harder to win support for a mayoral agenda.

That sort of sounds like a polite way of saying that once you get to know your fellow council members well, you'll find you can't work with them. That's Buzz's interpretation, not Hunt's, but it sounds about right—doesn't it, Laura Miller?

 
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7 comments
Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Many people I know got a valuation increase by the DCAD on top of the rate hike. A double whammy! Yes I remember and will NEVER FORGET. To bad too as she probably would have made a good mayor-but not by raising taxes in an ecconomic downturn. I will never forget this tax increase.

Northtxguy82
Northtxguy82

All reporters, please copy this comment and read it twice and maybe three times before reporting on any story concerning property taxes. A tax RATE is not the same thing as a TAX. A property value times a tax rate equals a tax. When a property value goes down a certain percentage, the tax RATE can go up by that same percentage and the resulting tax is the same as before. This is simple elementary-level math. When an elected official votes to raise a tax RATE, that is often not raising TAXES at all. Whether or not the tax itself was raised depends on whether the value dropped more than the rate was increased. Quit accusing elected officials of raising taxes when all they did was raise the tax RATE. Without a discussion of what the value did, you're only telling half the story.

MathTutor
MathTutor

I understand Northtxguy82 that perhaps you, being young and possibly only born in 82 might not yet be wise enough to understand that a "Tax Rate Increase" is in fact a "Tax Increase", They are one and the same thing. So all you reporters just ignore what this Northtxguy82 guy said. He apparently has no idea what he's talking about and it's very doubtful he's a property owner or he would know just how dumb and foolish his statement is.

Can you imagine a 2 percent tax rate increase on a gallon of gasoline and this fool trying to argue that's it's not "really" a Tax increase if you just buy less gas? LMAO'... Get real and go back to elementary school. Better yet Northtxguy82 how bout taking an introductory course in economics.

Your argument is flawed even to an 8 year old. and besidesm almost everyones property valuation has gone up so almost everyone is paying a HIgher Tax and at a Higher Tax Rate per unit of value. Jeezzz. what a dummy.

dalcoamod
dalcoamod

Believe it or not, Northtxguy82, we're actually not as dumb as you might think. Schutze and I go back and forth on when you can call a tax rate increase a tax increase. He has tended to see it your way. I see it differently. First, since not everyone's property values drop or drop equally from year-to-year, raising the rate does mean an actual increase in taxes paid by many homeowners and businesses. (I actually looked at some stats when I Buzzed about this a while back. I seem to recall that the majority of properties in Dallas on DCAD's rolls did not decline in value. I could be wrong on that, but I'm too lazy -- I mean busy -- to look that up right now.) I also have another way of looking at it that may be wrong and dumbheaded, but seems reasonable to me. (Feel free to tell me why I'm an idiot.) Here's the deal: Say my $100,000 value property declines to $90,000 between 2010 and 2011 (forget exemptions for now). Assume my local government had a 10-cent tax rate in 2010 and collected 100 bucks from me in taxes. In 2011, government would have to raise the tax RATE to 11 cents to get the same $100 from me. Now you might say that's not an actual TAX increase, since the government is getting the same amount of revenue. I say, however, that the guv is collecting a greater share of the value of my declining asset -- $100 is a slightly bigger chunk percentagewise of $90k than it is of $100k. As in: Hey, I lost 10 percent of my wealth this year, but the government is demanding the same money from me. No fair. Just because the city's revenue is flat, that doesn't mean the increase in rates doesn't impact me financially. If the government is taking a bigger percentage of the city's total property wealth from year to year, let's call that raising taxes. Maybe I'm missing something here, though. Odd thing is, I actually support higher taxes and think the city's increase was pretty small, all things considered. In any case, this all gets so wonky and debatable that it's hard to cover all the bases without putting readers to sleep.

Patrick W.

Vernon Franko
Vernon Franko

I agree with "dalcoamod's" explanation of an increase in tax rates.

Jlouis111
Jlouis111

You can't drive anywhere in Dallas that the streets aren't Really Fuc*ed up I pay my taxes and it seems that the money i pay (about 5,000.00) isn't important to anyone at City Hall. Talk about feeling alienated. Wow if someone gave me $ 5,000.00 i think i could find a way to say thank you. Fix the damned streets you idiots!

Scott R
Scott R

Not only do her district's well-organized neighborhood associations like things like parks, pavement and public libraries - they also DO NOT like low-income housing. And it appears that Hunt has been successful in keeping those low-lifes, errrr, I mean low-income families out of her district. Kudos.

 
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