Kunkle Says As Mayor, He Wouldn't Hike Taxes

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Last week, Ron Natinsky made it official, taking the missus down to City Hall on Valentine's Day to file his petition to run for Dallas mayor. This morning at 10 a.m., David Kunkle will follow in his footsteps, filing his paperwork with the city secretary after gathering enough signatures to get on the May ballot.

The former Dallas Police Chief also issued this morning his first Official Issue Statement -- this one titled "Raising Taxes Versus Cutting Spending." Says Kunkle, his "is a practical, hard headed commitment to looking at everything we do to see how we can do it better, cheaper and faster without reducing the quality of the service or the satisfaction of our customers, the people of Dallas." If nothing else, his statement, with its reference to Six Sigma, is also the first in Dallas mayoral-race history to make me think of a 30 Rock episode. Retreat to move forward after the jump.
THE ISSUE: RAISING TAXES VERSUS CUTTING SPENDING

One of my commitments to the citizens of Dallas is that I will not vote to raise taxes. We are currently overtaxed and underserved and we must reverse that. Across the board budget cuts are simply not working. Even in lean economic times we need to invest in services that improve the livability of our neighborhoods. We must question not just how well are we doing something but are we doing the right things. Too many budget decisions have been based on history, tradition and sacred cows. We must completely re-think the way we tackle the budget at Dallas City Hall.

You'll hear some candidates frame the issue as "Cut services or raise taxes." Like many issues, it's more complicated than that. I am committed to re-thinking and re-inventing government here in Dallas. This is not some theoretical experiment, either. This is a practical, hard headed commitment to looking at everything we do to see how we can do it better, cheaper and faster without reducing the quality of the service or the satisfaction of our customers, the people of Dallas.

These efforts go by many names - process improvement, re-engineering, core process mapping, Lean Six Sigma, Kaizen and others. The most important point is that they are established methods that private and public entities are already using successfully. However, these efforts take strong leadership at the top because change is never easy. And leadership doesn't mean giving orders. It means getting everyone on board, building a team.

Cities around the nation are streamlining paperwork, rethinking services, reducing response times and simplifying virtually every business process. They are also having candid discussions about whether services can be combined or outsourced.

Rather than hand down across the board or program cuts, we will commit ourselves to live within our revenue. Don't ask, "What will you cut?" We will reduce funding for many areas, but we will simultaneously focus on improvements. Again, this is a team effort.

David Kunkle
Candidate for Mayor of Dallas

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36 comments
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Steve
Steve

I suspect Kunkle will just adjust the way we report taxes so that he can say he lowered them.

Ardy
Ardy

After the recent fiasco, we need to get the candidates' definition of "not raising taxes". If it's the Angela Hunt sleight-of-hand variety, no thanks.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Seems that Angela warned about the dangers of excessive spending on bond projects that indebt the city for years to come. It's the bond expenses that take up a quarter of our budget today. It's the hotel, that she opposed that puts us on the hook far into the future--maybe it will succeed and be no burden, maybe not. It's hard to imagine how a bridge to nowhere will pay for itself, but I don't recall her supporting that. The money we've invested in the AAC don't seem to be paying off--by the way, why don't we get half of that American Airlines endorsement money? I don't get your point Ardy, would you please explain what you mean by "sleight-of-hand" tax increases?

Ardy
Ardy

I don't have an argument with any of the points you made. And I actually usually like Hunt. I was referring specifically to the property tax issue. Her position was that they were raising the multiplier but since the tax assessed values were lower, it's wasn't really a tax increase (never mind the fact that tax bills were higher than they would have been). It's disingenuous at best.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Many I know had a DCAD valuation increase on top of the rate increase. The justification was "Tom Leppert did it (in the past) so now I want to do it". I do agree with Ms. Hunt's stand on the troll road and the hotel. But on any given day the city wastes vast somes of money -seem to recall that they recently paid around 8 thou for new comfy chairs (letter to DMN -just one of many "bricks in the wall" of miss spending.

space2k
space2k

I would like to support this guy, but anyone who looks at the current public finance situation and categorically rules out increasing revenue is an unserious panderer.

Montemalone
Montemalone

And I think pandering is against the law, too.

MattL1
MattL1

Wow, an office seeker vowing not to raise taxes. That must have been a difficult position to take. I can't imagine how many political strategists were involved in coming to THAT conclusion. If this is the kind of bold thinking we can expect from the rest of the field, then this should be a real precedent-breaking mayoral race.

At least he didn't ask us to "read his lips."

John_McKee
John_McKee

Not raise taxes, cut spending. Nice idea, except we have already cut spending so much that our infrastructure is crumbling before our eyes and we can't barely afford the stripped and basic city services that we have now. The city was already nice enough to cut the assessed value of my home without me even having to ask them.

Lower taxes is nice, but you know what I really want? Open libraries, parks and pothole free streets and not the fear of drowning in a trinity flood. I want someone to make a real commitment to fixing the basic city infrastructure and service and then we will figure out how to pay for it instead of kicking it down the road where it becomes even more dire and expensive. I am sure there are some cuts we can make but I'm tired of hearing that tax hikes are off the table, it's a nice talking point but when the choice is keeping the libraries open and me saving a few bucks on my property tax bill, raise my property tax bill. We have to accept that is something we may have to do if we want to keep our street lights on and have paved roads.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

I doubt that in any given period that one can trace all the money the city council has wasted. They fight with the budget and raise fees and tax rate (on top of valuation increases by the DCAD) and then when it (the budget) is set they go on a spending spree. After all the budget is 2.75 BILLION and the city can't (or won't) live within it.

LL
LL

And don't spend 1/6 of the recent tax increase to mow the highway right-of-ways so we look good for the Superbowl. I didn't oppose the tax increase because I wanted libraries that had books and usable neighborhood parks and instead they spend $6.5M for right-of-ways. TXDot did it a couple of times a year, not perfect, but I would have been happy with it.

rc
rc

McKee speaks the truth. McKee for mayor.

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

I was hopeful that David Kunkle was going to be an honest candidate. If you think the City of Dallas can do all these things without more money, then you need to be looking out the window for your magic pony.

G_David
G_David

Sounds like an awesome platform; however, it sounds like many that I've heard before. And like those that came before, I'll believe it when I see it. I have yet to see it.

rc
rc

you won't see it

Montemalone
Montemalone

I think they should hire some consultants to study the various consulting firms that consult on how to improve services while not improving the people that provide those services and then after that hire some more consultants to study the data and provide a Powerpoint presentation to the city council who can then retreat to their inner sancti and consult with their staffs (staves?) who will then ask for the citizenry to provide feedback, which will then be fedback to the consultants, who will go the the consultants they consulted and feed them back the feedback they received.

Lee
Lee

I understand being against higher taxes. That is a no brainer. But why does he have to be so doctrinal about it? Is this a Tea Party litmus test thing?

Coleman
Coleman

Welcome to Texas, where even democrats need to give mouth-noise to being against higher taxes. Nothing new here.

quellepotat
quellepotat

Can we expect unusually favorable Observer coverage of Kunkle since Laura Miller's husband is his campaign manager? How about those "potholes" and corruption scandals--the sequel?

67 & Hampton
67 & Hampton

It is far more interesting that Chief Kunkle is more interested in looking at everything rather than just spewing talking points.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Tossing Mary Suhm out on her ear would be a nice start in the right direction.

rc
rc

Can I get an 'amen' on that? Let's make that a top priority but the council has to do it.I think the council is afraid to go there for fear she would reveal everything she knows.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Suhm has truly mastered both the art of exploiting the lack of harmony on the city council for her own benefit and the control of information to keep council members in the dark. Have you ever noticed how most of the City Council briefings by staff are extremely superficial and contain little information that would be relevant to a truly informed decision making process? As but one example, Angela Hunt seems to face constant battles in getting information delivered in a useable format (detailed Excel spreadsheets, rather than PDF summary schedules).

rc
rc

yeah, so what's your point? LOL! The Queen(Mary) rules with an iron fist. Most people think we don't have that nasty big city 'strong mayor' thing down in here in BIG D.Oh yes we do, Mayor Suhm is that very thing. So which ever man wins this thing, I hope he is prepared to cut them off an hand them over.

Ellum08
Ellum08

The problem is that most Council members can't understand most information that City Staff tries to present to them. Don't forget Carolyn Davis hasn't mastered the English language yet.

You are correct, though, that until someone holds Queen Mary's feet to the fire, nothing is going to change with the current budget 'process'. There is so much incredible waste at City Hall, it is unbelievable.

Kunkle, or any other candidate for that reason, can spout all they want about budget cutting/not raising taxes but the Mayor is just one vote out of fifteen total. Until the rest of the council understands that play time is over, and hard decisions have to be made, Queen Mary will continue to play her games, and win.

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

OK, I know it's early in the race, but this is a really short race. Can we please get some details on how the three candidates' streets-police-fire platforms differ? Also, how is it possible that Mike Rawlings doesn't have a website up yet?

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

There is a forum, I believe, this Thursday in Methodist Hospital's Hitt Auditorium. As I understand it, Neumann and Griggs will be there, along with Rawlings, Kunkle and Natinsky ...

rc
rc

yes they will and so will we.

Lakewooder
Lakewooder

Odd venue for political forum. They expecting casualties?

rc
rc

It's sponsored by the East Kessler Neighborhood Association. Let's see how many other neighborhood groups can 'ball it up' and do the same.

Admonkey
Admonkey

Because Roger Staubach is still learning HTML.

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