I was at the meeting where Scott Griggs and Phillip Kingston, both on the pension board, explained their plan and the bill they said that they worked on with State Legislator Dan Flynn. Some of what they said makes sense. They want to take some funding from Dart to go towards the pension over the next 30 years and change the structure of the pension board so that we don’t get in a situation like this again. However, I don’t agree with the claw back and trying to get out of the problem as “cheaply” as we can by cheating them out of promised retirement benefits. Phillip said some are going to loss their houses and … in this day nothing is fair. I don’t have a lot of confidence in what I have heard recently and constitutionally you can’t take back fire and police benefits. However, I am 100% sure we can find the money to start compensating our Dallas Police and Fire fairly without raising taxes. I believe in fairness.
The money we spend on our Police and Fire is an investment. It’s a necessary investment that will bring returns in the growth that comes with stability, safety and a sense of security for our families, our workers and our loved ones. We don’t need to raise taxes to pay competitive wages and if the state legislature does claw back and cut benefits it is imperative Dallas City Hall find the money to pay competitive wages for our Police and Fire. This will be a top priority on my to-do list if I am elected. We will determine the amount needed and we will find the money without raising taxes.
Let’s take an average 3600 Dallas police officers. Most surrounding cities pay $10 to $15 thousand more a year per officer. Now, there are differences in top out pay, pay gates, etc. However, if you take 3600 officers and multiple that by say $13 thousand to make them comparable it would be roughly $47 million a year. It’s roughly another $23 million for fire fighters. We can look through the budget and find $70 million. In 2015 the City budget was $3.1 billion and the tax rate stayed the same, resulting in $57 million in extra revenue from increased property valuation in the city. Out of a $3.1 Billion dollar budget we have fat and we can cut enough to pay our police and fire competitive wages.
We raise the money for “transformation” projects including decorative bridges by famous designers, city owned hotels, and the Mayor wants big money for a Trinity River highway project that we don’t’ “need”. We must offer competitive compensation and benefits, a solid pension plan and the best facilities, equipment and technology available to our first responders. We are going to need them. Let’s work together to make Dallas a better place to live work and play for everyone. I am a hard worker and I listen. I will find solutions. I am #2 on the ballot for District 14. Election: May 6, 2017 and Early voting: April 24-May 2.