February 10, 2022
Happy Thursday! Be someone's reason to smile.
☀️ Today's weather: High of 71, low of 43.
🎵 Sounds like: "Not in Nottingham"
🚔 Situational awareness: The Dallas DA's office announced criminal charges against two Dallas police officers in connection with the summer 2020 protests in downtown.
Today's newsletter is a purrfect 896 words — a 3.5-minute read.
1 big thing: Push back against Robin Hood
Texas school districts paid nearly $3 billion in local property taxes to the state in 2021 as part of the "Robin Hood" program.
Driving the news: Texas School Coalition, a lobbying group representing school districts that pay recapture, released a report this week highlighting just how much tax money leaves local coffers to help balance the state budget.
Why it matters: Dallas ISD ranked ninth among Texas school districts in the amount paid to the state in recapture. The district paid more than $85 million in 2021.
- Plano ISD and Highland Park ISD ranked third and fifth, respectively.
Meanwhile, 89% of the student population in Dallas is considered economically disadvantaged.
- The report points out that the program does not differentiate between property wealth and the personal wealth of the community.
The intrigue: The group released the report this week to draw attention back to the issue to combat the misperception that the program was "fixed" in 2019, when the state legislators passed House Bill 3, which overhauled the state's school finance system.
Flashback: The recapture program, often referred to as Robin Hood, has been in effect since the 90s, but the amount paid each year has grown as property values have skyrocketed.
- In 1993, 34 of the wealthiest school districts in the state paid $127 million in recapture. Last year, 158 school districts paid $2.96 billion to the state.
2. 🏙 Council approves new convention center plan
Dallas will design a building to replace the current Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
Driving the news: The Dallas City Council yesterday approved the plan to build a new convention center, which calls for a building that will have an entrance facing downtown and one facing the Cedars, the neighborhood south of Interstate 30.
Why it matters: City staff will begin a yearlong process of creating design options for the concept approved by council. The project will be funded by revenue bonds — paid in part by hotel occupancy taxes — and could need to be approved by voters.
- Council members said the design should incorporate housing and entertainment options and not just focus on out-of-town visitors.
The intrigue: Only one council member — Cara Mendelsohn — voted against the measure, citing concerns that a new convention center will be costly and not draw the tourism promised by city staffers.
What they're saying: "This is a win for our tourists. This is a win for Dallasites. This is a win for our business community," council member Adam Bazaldua said before voting in favor of a new building.
The bottom line: This is just the beginning of a long process to determine what will be included in the project and what the final design will look like.
3. 🐶 Adopt a pet for free this month
Dallas Animal Services is offering free adoptions through the end of the month.
Driving the news: The shelter issued a public plea for people to adopt or foster animals during last week's winter storm when the shelter was nearly at capacity.
- Only 3% of the medium and large dog kennels were open for new animals last Friday. As of yesterday morning, the shelter had 14% of those kennels available.
Why it matters: DAS staff has a goal to increase the percentage of animals returned to their owners, adopted or transferred to another shelter to 90%.
- Last fiscal year, only 78% of cats were saved compared to 91% of dogs.
By the numbers: Over the weekend, the shelter gained 73 dogs and 17 cats.
- But, DAS found purrmanent homes for 74 dogs and 11 cats and foster homes for 11 dogs.
What they're saying: "Even with a bit more breathing room, our capacity is still higher than we like to see and, at our rate of intake, it has been steadily climbing up each day this week," DAS spokesperson Leah Backo tells Axios.
How to adopt: Go to BeDallas90.org.
Wake up to a brighter future
4. 🗞 Burnt ends: Bite-sized news bits
💵 Fort Worth council members are asking voters for a pay raise from $25,000 to $76,727. If the salaries are approved, the mayor's pay will also increase from $29,000 to $99,653. (Star-Telegram)
⚖️ The Texas attorney general is investigating GoFundMe because it shut down a fundraiser for the "Freedom Convoy." (DMN)
🛢 Earthquakes in Texas doubled in 2021 compared to 2020, likely due to oil and gas drilling in the Permian Basin. (Texas Tribune)
🦍 The Dallas Zoo says five gorillas have tested positive for COVID. (WFAA)
🎭 A Dallas actress is heading to Broadway to perform in the revival of 1776. (KERA)
5. 💜 3 cool Valentine's Day date ideas in Dallas
If you haven't already, now's the time to plan something special for your Valentine.
🍸 Cozy up and get drinks at The Library
If you're going to do a bar on Valentine's Day, make it a swanky hotel bar with live music.
- Best for: Those who appreciate classic cocktails.
🍫 Go on a champagne and chocolate tour
Chocolate and champagne are the two primary food groups of Valentine's Day, right? Indulge in a little of both with a tour of local chocolatiers and dessert shops.
- Best for: Valentine's Day enthusiasts.
🏨 Staycation at The Adolphus Hotel
If you're craving relaxation and romance, consider booking massages at The Adolphus Hotel. If you really want to splurge, book a room and dine at one of their many restaurants.
- Best for: Couples celebrating a big anniversary.
🐕 Mike is grinning looking at pictures of puppers.
🐾 Tasha is really hoping some nice Axios Dallas readers adopt a new friend. Seriously, look at Jenny!
Help us find pawsome homes for furry friends every day. Refer your friends to Axios Dallas, and get cool merch like stickers, totes, hats, T-shirts and more!