Friday, June 5, 2015

Austin City Council's WOEFULLY Inadequate Homestead Exemption

"But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God."
Nehemiah 5:15

Oh good grief:
Early Friday morning, the Austin City Council approved a 6 percent property tax exemption for homeowners. Council members Ora Houston, Delia Garza, Greg Casar, and Kathie Tovo voted against the proposal.

Mayor Steve Adler and most of the Council members promised working toward a homestead exemption months ago while campaigning. City Council members started discussing the day’s biggest item after 10 p.m. Thursday.

Earlier this week, Casar offered a new proposition that he developed with Adler. The plan would implement a 5 percent homestead exemption — instead of the proposed 6 percent exemption. The 1 percent of “savings” – which amounts to about $700,000 – would be applied to the city’s Tenant Rental Assistance Program.

Some council members wanted to stick with the original 20 percent homestead exemption written in the drafted version. The city had until the end of this month to make a decision about the homestead exemption. Council was also considering phasing in the changes.

People in support of and against the homestead exemption showed up to City Hall to voice their opinion. The Austin Board of Realtors supports the exemption, but knows the loss of taxes is a tough reality for the city.

“This young Council is still working their way through understanding the financial implications of a policy like this,” said Emily Chenevert, with the Austin Board of Realtors. “We want them to take a step that they feel is appropriate and manageable.”

[Author's Note: Emphasis added.]
This is pathetic.  Mayor Adler and a majority of the council campaigned on a 20% exemption.  6% is insulting.  Kudos to Councilmembers Troxclair and Zimmerman for sticking to their guns.  Just 17 months until the next election.

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