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North Texas Leaders Concerned About Public Safety Cuts If Legislature's Proposed Property Tax Cap Passes

UPDATE: Texas Lawmakers Pause Property Tax Relief Plan After Criticism From Local Government Leaders

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - North Texas police chiefs are joining the mayor of Dallas in sounding the alarm on the impact a proposed property tax cap would have on public safety.

Mayor Mike Rawlings says if a bill in the legislature to limit property tax growth passes, the city would not be able hire the 100 police officers it's trying to recruit.

Mayor Rawlings released the following statement on the matter:

If the current Texas House bill regarding revenue caps passes tomorrow, I fear the City of Dallas will be forced to lay off employees or cut key services, including police and fire. The current proposal will prevent us from significantly increasing police officer and firefighter pay or hiring more, as our citizens want. Politicians talk a lot about supporting public safety. Tomorrow, the Texas House of Representatives may vote against our cities and especially against police and fire.

Two other area police chiefs are also expressing concerns about a bill that Governor Abbott promises will protect taxpayers.

Irving Police Chief Jeff Spivey told CBS 11 Wednesday night, he is especially worried about the impact on his department if the state legislature approves a 2.5 percent cap on local government property tax increases.

Chief Spivey says that would limit his city to generating only $2.7 million more a year which isn't enough to cover the $3 million in raises just approved and more than 20 new officers.

I don't think anybody wants the other taxes raised," said Chief Spivey. "We're all for property tax relief, but at what cost and I think when you look at the cost that's been proposed in Austin, specifically two cities, the cost is too great because it will directly impact public safety and our ability to hire new police officers and firefighters to give our employees raises to get new equipment."

Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye is also sounding off in a statement:

"A 2.5 percent cap would significantly impact our city's ability to properly fund, staff, and maintain our police department, as well as reduce the level of service to our citizens in other areas, such as fire, streets, libraries, and parks."

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price sent a letter to the Tarrant County House Legislative Committee saying, "I remain committed to working with you to find a solution that gives taxpayers tangible relief, without dangerously hampering cities ability to provide basic city services, most notably, public safety and transportation infrastructure."

Here is the letter:

There's a belief among Republicans lawmakers that cities have too much freedom to jack up property taxes and this bill will reign them in.

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