On Tuesday, Amarillo residents voted down the city’s property tax rate increase proposal. Election results show 55% voted against the measure, while 45% supported the tax increase.

If approved, Amarillo citizens would have seen their city proprty tax rate increase 22% from the current $0.39681 to $0.48404. Even though the ballot measure was voted down, Amarillo citizens will still see their proprty tax increase from $0.39681 to $0.44334. 

The $0.44334 rate for the 2021-2022 budget was the highest the Amarillo City Council could raise property taxes under Texas state law without voter approval.

Amarillo City Manager Jared Miller said anytime you are asking for a tax increase from your citizens, it's never a guarantee that it will pass. 

“In this case, the council focused on things that the community had said were absolute needs with parks and public safety. We did our best to educate residents about what the money would be used for. I have no problem with the result; we will continue to do the best job we possibly can by using the resources the best we can as good stewards to the community.

“It’s never a guarantee that your message is going to penetrate the way that you want to get it across. Effective communication is always a challenge. Everything that we asked for are things that will have to be dealt with in the near future regardless of the outcome of this vote," Miller said.

Miller went on to say that an unsuccessful proposition does not reflect that the community does not care about the things that need to be paid for.

"I think the public understands the need for park improvements and well-funded public safety. Still, when you start talking about a tax rate, it’s always a difficult conversation to approach with many variables involved. It boils down to value-based conversations about how we allocate our resources," Miller said.

Moving forward after the vote, Amarillo Assistant City Manager Laura Storrs said for the city "it’s more of maintaining what we need just to get by right now and not being able to kind of put some additional items out there, some additional improvements out there in the community." 

Storrs went on to explain that the city could pssibly find other ways to fund some of the priority items in the proposition.

“If we happen to see growth in some of our appraised values, we could potentially fund parts of that sometime in the future, but more than likely it would take a property tax rate increase and that would be something to decide if they were in support of or if they wanted to take it back to citizens at a future point in time for citizens to weigh in on,” Storrs said.

Save Amarillo PAC, a local political pact that urged citizens to vote against the property tax rate increase issued the follwing statement:

For the second year in a row, Amarillo voters have made it clear that they will not be bullied into supporting massive tax hikes.

While there is plenty of reason to celebrate the defeat of Prop A tax hike, the work is not yet over. City leaders have already made it clear that, despite the failure of Prop A, they still plan to increase the property tax rate by the maximum amount they are legally allowed.

Throughout this campaign, Save Amarillo has been clear that we are not against funding the items Prop A was advertised as funding. We call on City Council to return to the drawing board and fund priorities first. These are issues that should never have been turned into a political debate.

We applaud Councilman Cole Stanley for being the sole voice of reason on City Council during this campaign.

To the voters who turned out, we say Thank You!

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