Dallas property taxes squeeze middle class while wealthy, businesses reap advantages

Were you shocked when you opened your property tax assessment this year? If so, you're not alone. Property values and the taxes that come with them are on the rise across Dallas County.

But it is the middle class who, once more, are bearing the heaviest burden — while most businesses and the wealthy are catching a relative break, according to an analysis by The Dallas Morning News.

"At this rate, I'll be taxed out of my house in the next three to four years,” said Doug Silver, a 46-year-old film worker who lives near White Rock Lake and saw his assessment climb 9 percent this year. "It's the American dream, right?”

While most Dallas County home values rose by less than 10 percent this year, the middle class, with homes worth $100,000 to $250,000, saw a higher increase of 11.2 percent. And the wealthy, with homes valued at over $1 million, saw a median increase of just 7.5 percent, The News found.

Homeowners were more likely to see their taxes go up than the owners of commercial properties. About 73 percent of Dallas County homeowners saw their property values increase vs. 30 percent of commercial properties.

"I'm disheartened to hear the numbers — we are shifting the burden to middle-class housing,” said Philip Kingston, who represents Lakewood and other pricey areas in eastern Dallas on the City Council. "That seems to be a very perverse practice. We want to bring the middle class back.”

The News analyzed hundreds of thousands of preliminary county appraisal records released this month. The numbers will become official in July after the appeals process ends. That process has historically favored businesses and those who can hire consultants and lawyers. Meanwhile, middle-class homeowners typically struggle to fight back on what some see as an uneven playing field.

Posted by Naomi Martin and Allan James Vestal on 5/25/2016


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