Dallas City Council unanimously approved an increase in the homestead property tax exemption for those who are disabled or 65 years or older from $107,000 to $115,500, effective Oct. 1, 2022.
The change passing will result in $4,898,697 worth of revenue missed each year. Regardless, members across the horseshoe were in favor of the bill to give back to senior citizens and those who are unable to pay for basic necessities like groceries or prescription medication.
“High property taxes can make it difficult for anyone, but there’s a recognition that seniors and people with disabilities, many who are on a fixed income, are unable to absorb into their budget the property value increases we’re seeing in Dallas,” said Cara Mendelsohn, chair of the government performance and financial management committee.
Mendelsohn said that last year, they changed the financial management performance criteria to look at increases in property value and cost of living when examining whether to incorporate these exemptions, with the help of chief financial officer Elizabeth Reich and director of budget and management services Jack Ireland.
“My own thought is that I hope this is just our first step and our council will take the next steps in August and September to significantly reduce the tax rate for all Dallas residents,” Mendelsohn said. “This will be an important way we keep rents affordable, keep people on the margin housed, and encourage people to choose Dallas as their place to live.”
The unprecedented increase of over 20% in real estate values in the last year creates a burden on everyone, but especially those who are on fixed incomes, council member Paul Ridley said. Moving forward, he said it’s important to recognize the elderly population’s continuous contributions to Dallas and society as a whole.
“Seniors played by the rules, they worked hard, they paid their taxes, then they hit an age where their income stops,” council member Omar Narvaez said. “[…] It’s indicative that the city of Dallas continues to look at this.”