Lubbock approves new tax rate aimed at cutting costs

LUBBOCK, Texas — Lubbock City Council on Tuesday approved a tax rate for Fiscal Year 2022-2023 of 0.476, or about $48 per every $1,000 of a home’s valuation.

That is the “no-new-revenue” rate, meaning it will create the same amount of taxes next year as it would if applied to last year’s properties. It was the lowest tax rate the city considered, and supporters of the measure said they hope it will slow the rise in property taxes.

“We were very conscientious of the creep in appraised values,” Mayor Tray Payne said. “We’re going to do everything we can to keep the tax rate as low as we can.”

“This year is an unprecedented year with inflation being where it’s at, and people are looking for a bit of reprieve,” District 5 councilwoman Jennifer Wilson said. “With the growth of Lubbock, we are able to provide that for our citizens this year. We’ve had tremendous growth in sales tax and growth in property as well. We’re going to see increase in revenue with a billion dollar budget because of growth, so we don’t have to continue to raise taxes.”

The vote was passed on a close margin of four to three. All four newly-elected councilmembers – Payne, Wilson, Martinez-Garcia, and McBrayer – voted in favor of the no-new-revenue rate. All three more tenured members – Joy, Patterson-Harris, and Massengale – voted against it.

“My concern and why I didn’t support the no-new-revenue tax rate was it lowers our base where we start next year,” District 4 councilman Steve Massengale said. “We know that we’re putting in a new fire station next year and we’ve got to outfit that, I think that’s around $1.6 million, and we’re capped at 3.5 percent [property tax increases] by state statute, so we just start behind the curve next year. It puts us in the situation where you could have extreme swings of the tax rate, and I don’t think that’s what the taxpayers want.”

“This no-new-revenue rate is going to cause significant problems as we move forward,” District 6 councilwoman Latrelle Joy said.

Mayor Payne said Lubbock raised more sale tax revenue in the last year than ever before, and that surplus allowed the city to lower the tax burdens in other areas.

“That shows the growth we have in our city so we were able to rely on that quite a bit this year,” he said. “I don’t know what next year will hold but for this year I’m proud we were able to at least keep as low for the people as we could. It’s just differing philosophies. Everybody has a really good intention for the city and I can see that.”

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