But any truly honest conversation about affordability must also address the rapid rise of property taxes.
We all know, property taxes are going up. And going up too much, too fast. In fact, for the median priced home in most of Austin, all property taxes combined have gone up $1,408 in just the last five years. That’s a lot.
But did you know that $1,023 of that increase does not come from increases in city taxes, or county taxes, or hospital district taxes, or taxes to fund AISD schools, or all of those taxes added together?
This brings me to something that, for my money, I’ve always thought were missing in our State of the City Addresses: charts!
…Actually, it’s a bar graph. It answers the question: Which governmental entity is the out-of-control taxing entity here in Austin?
The answer: It’s the State. Look at that increase over the last five years. (That’s is the part of the school district tax that the state takes and isn’t used to educate children in Austin.)
$1,023 of the $1,408 property tax increase you are feeling over the last five years comes solely from the increase in the State Property Tax?
Let me show you another bar graph. Here, again, you can see that the total property tax bill has gone up from $4,653 to $6,061 in the last five years.
You can also see that the city property tax has gone up from $1,041 to $1,250 or a total of $209 over the last five years.
The county property tax, the hospital district, all other property taxes, except schools, added together have gone up about $242 over the same period of time.
The property taxes to fund AISD schools in Austin has actually gone down from $2,032 to $1,965 over the last five years.
But, look at the State Property Tax (again, the money the State takes from the AISD property tax and spends somewhere else). Five years ago, it was at $355. This year, it’s at $1,378. That is an increase of 288% over the last five years.
Did you realize that this year, the State of Texas will keep more of your local property taxes than the City of Austin? ($1,378 vs. $1,250)
When people in most of Austin, inside the AISD, say that property taxes are going up too much too fast, we are not talking about the City or the County or the Hospital District or even AISD’s cost to educate Austin children.
When people say that property taxes are going up too much, we’re talking about the State Property Tax.
It is hard to believe that the Governor is even talking about trying to limit city, county and school district tax increases to 2.5% per year (without a vote), when the State Property Tax has increased by 288% in just five years.
It is high time the State legislature finally does something about increases in property taxes. And, if they’re going to really do something, then our State leaders cannot try to divert us away from the real problem. It’s the State Property Tax. To fix its runaway tax, the State must fix and appropriately fund the school finance system. Nothing else will actually give us property tax relief in Austin.