Corporations located in Austin care about Austin. That is why the Mayor’s Office convenes the Corporate Engagement Council, to foster conversations on how we can better serve Austin as a community. The Corporate Engagement Council is a public-private association that discusses corporate giving, shares and develops best practices in the industry, and engages businesses in important conversations the City is having. Continue reading
“When AISD taxes you a dollar on your tax bill, a big chunk of it leaves and isn’t available to be spent here for services. But if the city taxed you for that same dollar, all your money does stay here. Austin taxpayers could save money or get more for the taxes we pay by having the city and the school district engage in a tax swap.”
The Statesman wrote that the tax swap was “one of the more interesting proposals Austin Mayor Steve Adler cited in his state of the city address” and “an idea worth exploring as the Austin school district is expected to send evermore of its local tax revenue to the state in an arrangement that shortchanges taxpayers and students.”
If done right, a tax swap would present taxpayers with the promise of a tax cut, schools with the possibility of more money, or a combination of both, because it would result in sending less of our school tax dollars to other school districts. Right now, AISD (where 60% of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches) sends $181 million in tax revenue our of town in 2015 because of our broken school finance system. This is equal to a quarter of the school districts total Maintenance and Operations tax collections.
Meanwhile, AISD taxes the average homeowner an average of $1,000 a year. People in Austin have a lot to gain from a tax swap, and this could go a long way toward addressing our affordability crisis.
On Feb. 11, 2016, the Council approved Resolution No. 201602011-015 directing the City Manager to explore a tax swap, including the legal issues and a cost-benefit analysis. We’ll keep you posted on how this goes.
Photo credit: Stephen Spillman
“Great cities do big things not because they are great. Cities become great because they do big things.”
Thank you, President Fenves. I am grateful for your leadership at the University of Texas and for our growing working relationship and even friendship.
And with the conversations that need to be happening between UT and the City on issues like the development of the Innovation Zone around our new medical school, a replacement arena for the Drum, the future of the MUNY golf course site, as well as expanding opportunities for closer connection between Austin and the incredible intellectual resources of your faculty, there’s a lot for you and me — and the community — to be talking about.
And by the way, I’m grateful to you for skipping the West Virginia game tonight. You get pretty good seats, so I know what kind of sacrifice this is.
President Fenves recounted the story of the Austin Dam. I love that story, because as the Mayor of Austin I’m often asked what the secret sauce is that makes us a magical city and a center for innovation and creativity. Most every other city wishes it could replicate our success. When I attended the climate change talks in Paris, the 100 Resilient Cities meeting in London, the Almedalen Political Rhetoric Festival in Norway, and the traffic control center in Dublin, Ireland, and people found out that I was the Mayor they’d get a big smile on their face and tell me how much they love Austin.
Cities from all over our country and the rest of the world send entire delegations here to troop through our offices in hopes of finding the magic formula written on a white board somewhere. These leaders from other cities ask me what makes Austin so special. I tell them about Barton Springs and how our commitment to our environment became perhaps our most important asset. I tell them about Willie Nelson and our live music, how by embracing diverse cultures we established an inclusive community where creativity thrives, about a community where it is okay to fail so long as you learn and grow. And I tell them about Michael Dell reinventing the assembly line in his dorm room and how coming up with radical new ideas here doesn’t make you an outcast — it can make you rich and famous.
And then I tell them about the Austin Dam, and how when the dam burst we were set on a path that turned us into a boomtown of the Information Age. The lesson, I tell these visitors from other cities is clear. They need to leave Austin, return to their hometowns, and destroy all their dams and bridges, too.
But some cities just aren’t willing to do the Big Things.
Continue reading after the break.
In our first year under the new 10-1 form of government, your Austin City Council set high goals for what we could accomplish in the first year. We are proud to have made real progress toward improving Austin for everyone. We’re looking forward to an even more productive 2016.
See the full list here.