A coalition of Dallas leaders Monday issued a report which shows Dallas County lost more than $1 billion in revenue over the past 5 years because commercial property owners won big appraisal reductions on appeals.
The group, called Communities United for a Greater Dallas, released the report at the Dallas Central Appraisal District office.
A Dallas City Councilman, a teachers union leader, a church pastor and other community leaders attended the event to draw attention to little known laws that permit the reductions from what tax appraisers initially set as market value on the properties.
"Our appraisers are doing everything right under state law. It's the state law that is broken," Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston said.
One example cited by the group was the 2018 appraised value of the Fountain Place high rise office building in Downtown Dallas, initially set at $244 million by DCAD, reduced to $140.2 million on appeal.
Members of the group said homeowners who appeal their property appraisal may not be armed with the same knowledge of loopholes in the law that expert consultants use to the advantage of large commercial land owners.
"In doing that, it shifts the burden of the higher taxes onto the residential property owners. And we are taxed out," Alliance AFT Teachers Union President Rena Honea said.
Rev. Jaime Kowlessar of City Temple Church in southern Dallas said nearly half the members of his congregation struggle to pay their property taxes.
"It's not fair that hard working homeowners have to see their appraisals go up and these big commercial businesses get to keep that a secret. Let's make it fair for everybody," he said.
Across the street from the church, homeowner Herbie Johnson said his value rose again this year.
"It's unfair to allow those folks to lower their assessed value when ours is going up," Johnson said.
One change proposed in the Texas Legislature would make the sale price on all real estate transactions public, so accurate market value appraisals could be made.