Dallas County Tells State Lawmakers They're Taking Away Local Control ‘like California'

The state Legislature's proposed property tax reforms are misguided, infringe on local control and would make Texas a "state centralized model, like California," Dallas County commissioners said in a letter released Thursday. The county commissioners court, which includes four Democrats and one Republican, urged the Republican-controlled Capitol to address school financing because, they said, school districts make up at least half of homeowners' property tax bills. The letter also said the state's budget cuts have shifted expensive burdens to the county, such as public defenders, court appointed attorneys in child welfare cases and state prisoners being held in the county jail. The county said it spends $145 million a year on "services the state is supposed to provide," and if the state "simply paid its own bills," Dallas County homeowners would see a 17 percent drop in property taxes. The letter comes days before lawmakers will begin a special session that will focus on reducing property tax burdens. Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, has proposed a bill that would cap how much local governments can increase taxes.  Continue reading...

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