Local NewsTaxes & SpendingDallas Mayor Says City Should Show More Fiscal Restraint: ‘All Options Should Be on the Table’

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, a Democrat, said that "all options should be on the table" as the city weathers an estimated revenue shortfall of up to $101 million in the coming fiscal year.
June 18, 2020
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Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson expressed his desire last week to find ways the city can reduce waste and excess in its budget.

On June 12, the former Democratic state representative turned mayor sent a memo to City Manager T.C. Broadnax outlining several ways Johnson believes the city can address reducing its expenditures to offset dramatic losses in revenue due to the coronavirus.

While Johnson expressed his support for taxpayer-funded resources and services, he underscored the need for fiscal restraint.

“[In] light of the projected budget shortfall due to COVID-19, all options should be on the table. In that spirit, I hope you will first consider ‘defunding’ the bureaucracy to the greatest extent possible,” Johnson said.

Johnson told the city manager that even if Broadnax’s salary was cut by 20 percent, he would still be “well-compensated” and would make more than the city manager of San Antonio, which is more populous than Dallas.

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The mayor went on to say that Dallas should not pay for lobbyists during the coming 87th Legislature.

“Based on my own experience in the Texas Legislature, I also believe that this new approach is warranted next year and would actually prove more effective,” Johnson said, referencing his nine years of experience representing Dallas in the Texas House.

The mayor also prompted Broadnax to reexamine the effectiveness of “management services” functions, which includes some social programs, saying that the budget category had grown during Broadnax’s tenure from $8.9 million in Fiscal Year 2015-2016 to $30.2 million in the current fiscal year.

Johnson also referenced recommendations made by the Mayor’s Task Force on Safe Communities, saying that they will play an important role in the council’s consideration of police funding.

On June 12, the Dallas City Council delayed a routine increase in the police department’s budget in response to protests against police violence and demands to “defund the police.” 

Some council members are now calling the council’s response to these demands “reimagining public safety.” 

On Wednesday, during the city council’s budget workshop, Chief Financial Officer M. Elizabeth Reich gave a presentation that indicated the city has come up $10.3 million short in the current fiscal year due to the coronavirus.

The city had to take measures such as furloughs and closures to offset steep revenue losses.

Reich told the council to expect a $63 million to $101 million revenue shortfall for the coming fiscal year.

The Texan has requested a statement from Broadnax regarding his position on reducing executive compensation.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan in Dallas. During the academic year, he coaches high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.

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