Why, I've Got a Much Better Idea Than This Half-Baked Call for Rolling Back Dallas's Taxes

You may or may not be familiar with Allen Gwinn -- the blogger-provocateur who keeps watch over the public school system and other matters. He has a new website going called calling for a local version of the California legislation that has helped reduce that state to ruin -- putting every adjustment of the property tax rate out for a vote of the people.

Hey, I love people. But there was a reason why the founders created things like the legislature, the courts, the presidency and so on. The people need a government to help them sort things out.

But I'm not giving Gwinn his due. You should go look at his website and decide for yourself. His endgame is to pull the tax rate in Dallas down to the level of taxes in certain low-tax suburbs. He wants to do it by bringing about a change in the city charter.

It always bothers me a little when people make a straight parallel between the tax rate in Dallas, which is the mothership of the region, and taxes in some of the 'burbs. The city is responsible for a hell of a lot more than the suburbs -- from building the basic infrastructure that they all mooch off to housing and educating the workforce they all need.

So I have another idea, an alternative to Gwinn's.

Mine would require a change in the state constitution governing home-rule cities and annexation. But if we put our legislative might together with Houston, San Antonio and Austin, I don't see why it couldn't be done.

Let's annex all the suburbs.

What a great way to level the playing field. I think we really could lower our taxes in Dallas if we were able to glom on to some easy money in Plano, the Park Cities and Southlake. All these big-deal outfits around here -- The Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Citizens Council, the North Central Texas Commissariat of Governments - they're always preaching that we need to be more regional.

O.K. Let's really get regional. Let's go all in. Let's regional the hell out of it.

I'm going to call my cause ", because I think we should give the suburbs a great big hug. Just a huge squeeze of a hug. And while we're hugging on them, maybe we could pat around on their backsides and check for a billfold.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze