Progress on Affordability

When you helped elect me six months ago, I made Austin’s affordability crisis a focus of my campaign for Mayor. Thanks to your support and help, we are taking action. I promised to work toward a 20% homestead exemption phased in over four years, and our council has taken the first step. Please take a few moments to read the Statesman editorial. Under my plan, replacing the .01% exemption passed by council last year, the 6% exemption will save a median homeowner more than $50 a year. This exemption will help every single homeowner in the City of Austin – more than 200,000 families. Have questions about the homestead? Please read this FAQ. There’s no denying that families are hurting all over the city trying to keep up with the rising cost of living in our city, including the burden of property taxes. We need to examine and use all options possible to tackle this crisis. This is just the beginning. Our council has many other affordability measures on the table and coming before us. Also on Thursday, council took action on Homestead Preservation Districts and community land trusts in East Austin. Soon, we’ll address inequitable drainage fees, provide more funds to rental assistance programs, and continue our property tax appraisal challenge to make the system fairer. As we move in to the budget process in the coming months, there will be many opportunities for you to weigh in on council’s priorities, and I hope you will do so. We’ll be looking hard at the budget to find ways to save money without cutting vital city services and programs providing equity to keep the tax rate as low as possible.