The following is the full text of Mayor Eric Johnson’s 2022 State of the City Address. Please note: Mayor Johnson occasionally deviated from the text as prepared.
Madam Secretary, City Manager Broadnax, City Attorney Caso, City Auditor Swann, Judge Robinson, members of the Dallas City Council, esteemed elected officials, board and commission members, city staff, honored guests, and fellow residents of the great City of Dallas: thank you for joining me this morning.
My duty here, under the Dallas City Charter, is to once again report to you on the state of our city, its financial condition, and our plans for the future.
And today, I can proudly say that the state of our city is stronger than ever, and that Dallas is back.
We’re back because we continue to focus on our future while building on our past and addressing our challenges.
And that’s why I chose to again deliver this annual address at Fair Park, a uniquely Dallas venue that represents both our city’s past and our future.
Fair Park both serves our residents and puts Dallas on the world stage. Every year, Fair Park hosts special events, concerts, musicals, and festivals. Every summer, more than 10,000 Dallas residents come here to pick up school supplies during the Mayor’s Back to School Fair. And every fall, the great State Fair of Texas, which set a new attendance record this year, draws millions of people to Fair Park from all over our city, from across this region, and from around the world.
Fair Park has also been an invaluable asset for us during difficult times. Remember, just a year and a half ago, this park was a vaccination site for hundreds of thousands of people.
That collaborative effort helped us bring an end to those dark and desperate days when COVID-19 kept us apart, forced us into virtual meeting marathons, and took our kids out of their classrooms.
Fair Park, in other words, is a place of hope, a place of opportunity, a place for fun, and a place that serves our families.
However, it is abundantly clear that we haven’t been putting our best foot forward here at Fair Park. Unfortunately, like too many communities in our city, Fair Park and its surrounding neighborhoods have largely been underserved and over- looked — and for far too long.
Today, I say to you: no more. Not here, and not anywhere in our city.
We’re committed to building a Dallas where no community will be underserved or overlooked. We’re working to bring an end to the era of inequities. And we’re beginning a new era of opportunity for all of our residents.
One week ago, Dallas voters took advantage of an historic opportunity. Through their overwhelming approval of Proposition A, we are primed to make the single-largest investment in Fair Park’s 136-year history. And we’ll be able to revitalize Fair Park and make it — for the first time — a genuine asset to its surrounding community and its incredible people.
And that’s not all.
Our voters also supported funding that will help us expand and modernize the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. That means we can bring new development and new life to downtown Dallas. It means creating new places that can be enjoyed by both Dallas residents and visitors alike.
It also means we can do all of this for our city without raising taxes on our residents.
In fact, we’re making these significant investments as we work to reduce our residents’ property tax burden. I’m proud to say that just two months ago, this City Council voted for our largest tax-rate cut in at least four decades.
And we did that while still increasing our commitment to our top priorities. We’re boosting spending to grow our police department, to reduce violent crime, and to support our fire- fighters and paramedics.
We’re investing in new strategies to reduce the scourge of homelessness. We’re fully funding the Office of the Inspector General to end corruption at City Hall. We’re demanding a more accountable and responsive city government for our residents. And we’re adding new parks, trails, and green spaces at an unprecedented
Our efforts are paying off. In the last four years, Dallas has welcomed $14 billion in new development, and we have billions more in the pipeline.
My friends, we’ve come a long way from the distressing days of lockdowns, civil unrest, natural disasters, and other as- sorted calamities.
Even in the face of today’s national and international challenges, the City of Dallas has been undeterred.
We’ve stayed focused. We’ve solved problems. We’ve kept promises. And we’ve empowered our people.
As a result, Dallas emerged from the pandemic as a national leader — as America’s “Comeback City.” And we have an undeniable and irrepressible spirit — or as some call it, “Big Dallas Energy.”
Don’t get me wrong: we understand that there is still plenty of work to do. And we know that as we stand tall, the pendulum will try to swing back and knock us on our heels.
But this is a city that embraces challenges — and we thrive because of them. This great unfinished metropolis continues to brim with potential because we acknowledge our imperfections and actively work to correct them. We’re ignoring the doubting Thomases, and we’re putting our faith in each other. Our hearts are full, our dreams are big, and this decade is ours for the taking.
Read Mayor Johnson’s message in its entirety at www.texasmetronews.com