Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Austin City Coucil Lying about Tax Increases?!?

The Travis County Taxpayers Union filed an ethics complaint against the Austin City Council yesterday; from their press release:
4-Nov-2013,  3:00 PM   

Austin, TX --  Brad Parsons, a TCTU volunteer analyst and concerned citizen, has filed an ethics complaint against the Austin City Council and the City Manager claiming that the city is unlawfully distributing "political advertising" in the form of its website materials, including their notorious flier, whose sole statement regarding the financial impact of this bond is "No increase in the property tax rate is anticipated as a result of this bond issuance."  
    This statement, while partly factual, is misleading in its implication that property taxes will not go up when the $65,000,000 is borrowed at an undisclosed interest rate.  In fact, the Housing Bond proposition, if passed, is legal justification for unlimited increases in property tax levy (amount taken from property owners) to pay back the new bond debt, plus interest. 
    This misleading City flyer statement clearly shows that the City is advocating for passage of the bond, violating its own statement that it is not advocating for the bond, and leading to a violation of state law regarding distribution and publication of "informational materials" which are actually "political advertising."
    TCTU founder and treasurer Don Zimmerman adds, "we have actually seen Facebook comments on our 'No Means No!' vote against website saying people would vote for the Bond 'because taxes won't go up, or that the Bond has nothing to do with taxes.'  Clearly, this unlawful city government propaganda is working to some extent."
    Another new TCTU friend, John Goldstone, a local taxpayer who has been instrumental in getting the word out that "Bonds Equal Taxes," attended all of the City's Housing Bond panel discussions, wrote 2 published letters to the editor in both the Austin American Statesman (November 2, 2013) and Austin Chronicle (October 25, 2013), as well as giving a rousing citizens communication speech on October 17, 2013 (4th speaker). 

Mr. Goldstone has raised awareness of the failure of the City to admit that there will be an actual cost of repayment of the bonds (including dissemination of the cost of the bond to the voters), which should have allowed City of Austin voters the chance to weigh the pros (adequately presented by the City in its materials) and cons (property tax cost to the rest of us).
 Read the full ethics complaint here.


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