August 24, 2017—It’s true: two of the most pressing issues in Austin are affordable housing and mobility. Now, a new accelerator program backed by some of Austin’s most powerful advocates aims to find a needle in a haystack — an idea that truly turns Austin’s affordability trend around before it’s too late.
“Only four years ago, the State got one third of what the City got. Only three years ago, the State got one half of what the City got. And next year, for the very first time, the State will be taking more than what the City of Austin gets. So to be clear, property taxes are no longer a local property tax. From this day forward, let’s call it what it really is. Ours is a state property tax. And the recent increases by the state of property taxes has been extreme, geometric, and irresponsible.
“Yet in this ‘Alice in Wonderland’ world, state leaders are blaming local governments for their property tax increases, andthat is simply not true. It’s not appropriate. As chairman [Dennis] Bonnen has said so clearly—chair of Ways and Means in the House—the attempt to cap local property taxes has nothing to do with property tax relief. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate, and it’s harmful.
“If the legislature wants to do something about our increasing property taxes, they need to fix their increases in our property tax. They have to hold down this out of control state property tax that citizens and residents of Austin are paying. If the legislature wants to do something about increasing property taxes, they need to fix our broken school finance system. That’s the only thing, the real thing, that people all over our state want our state legislature to do. And it appears to be the only thing they are not doing this special session.”Continue reading →
By Mayor Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt
When considering our community’s access to opportunity and prosperity, Austin and Travis County have much to celebrate — but also much work to do.
Though we learned with last week’s release of the Community Advancement Network’s annual Dashboard Report that unemployment in Travis County has declined by more than 50 percent since 2012, we also learned that 25 percent of black and Hispanic families in the county live in poverty, as compared to only 10 percent of other families. Continue reading →