Texas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he was not ruling out layoffs after county auditors miscalculated tax revenues by $13.0 million.
“I see the possibility that we need to right size some departments. We need to look at each one of those,” Jenkins said. “What I’ve asked is for each department head and elected official to come forward with their ideas rather than having it come from on high.”
Jenkins clearly leads by example. In the truancy courts, Jenkins laid off two judges out of five.
“That’s somewhat of a savings because we saw a decrease in truancy court after reform that Michael Hinojosa and I led,” he explained.
In 2016, Jenkins proposed reducing the effective tax rate, hoping that the city of Dallas and Dallas Independent School District would follow his lead. Neither did. In fact, both the city and school district raised taxes.
Jenkins, the country’s top elected official, is hoping it will be a different story in 2017. Namely, he hopes that property taxes will be reduced and that the city of Dallas and school district will follow suit. Schools in the county account for more than half of all property taxes.
According to Jenkins, 60% of the Dallas population are renters. Over the last year, rent on a two-bedroom apartment has increased $100.00 this year to an average of $1,200.
“Families just can’t afford these increases and taxes going up leads property owners to raise rents,” said Jenkins.
On top of that, the proposed Republican replacement for Obamacare is expected to leave public hospitals, like the 862-bed Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, with more patients who can’t pay and less reimbursement from Medicaid.
If the Republic healthcare plan becomes lay, local taxpayers will need to pony up more to cover the costs.
“It’s going to mean a huge burden to you and likely increases in your costs. This is a tax cut masquerading as a healthcare bill and it’s not even a tax cut for most of us. It’s a tax cut for millionaires,” Jenkins added.
In Congressman Pete Sessions’ district (northeastern Dallas) it is projected that 65,000 people will lose their health coverage.
“That’s just on the insurance side. Let’s look at the Medicaid side. That’s where Parkland really gets hammered because 98% of our people are uninsured,” Jenkins explained. “It’s arguable that Dallas County gets ripped worse than any other place in the country because of this bill.”
“Inside Texas Politics,” WFAA, July 2, 2017.