Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Minor disagreements with fellow bloggers

Jim Schutze over at the Dallas Observer's Unfair Park blog apparently doesn't understand how TIFs are financed and Jeff Siegel at the Advocate's Back Talk Lakewood blog apparently hasn't been paying attention.

Mr. Schutze wrote another one of his mountains-from-molehills rants today about a parking garage planned for the Deep Ellum TIF, suggesting that the TIF is robbing the City of Dallas' General Fund of money that could be used to pay for more police officers. Don't believe a word of it. The money used to fund projects for TIFs comes from the additional taxes paid by owners of property within the TIF because their property increased in value based on the TIF. Here's an example. You have property worth $100,000 and you are paying property taxes on that valuation. Now that property becomes part of a TIF. Because of the improvements made on property within the TIF, the value of your property increases to $175,000 and your property taxes increase proportionately. Only the difference between the taxes you paid on the property when it was valued at $100,000 and the taxes you pay now go into the TIF. In other words, without the TIF, those revenues would not be available to the city for additional police officers or anything else.

Mr. Siegel is commenting on yesterday's runoff election in which Lowell Cannaday trounced Jim Bowles in the runoff for the Republican nomination for Dallas County sheriff. He writes: "Cannaday should go into the November election against incumbent (Democrat) Lupe Valdez as the favorite." Where has Mr. Siegel been? Has he failed to notice that Dallas County is now solidly Democratic and that the November elections will be, above all, a referendum on a widely unpopular Republican president, widely unpopular even here in the county where his library is going to be built. For a more accurate look at how this election is shaping up, I would refer you to Gromer Jeffers' column in today's Dallas Morning News in which he writes "Ms. Valdez looks as stable as ever."

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