Property tax rates could go up due to proposed budget

The Austin City Council will likely increase the general fund to a total of $1 billion. Council Member Ellen Troxclair says at this rate, city property taxes will double every nine years.

City council is supposed to adopt a budget on Wednesday. If it's anything like Tuesday, making that happen is going to be difficult. The City of Austin continues to grow and with an increase in population, council is trying to keep up with the demand. That means taxpayers might be given the short end of the stick.

"The city council is raising property taxes 8 percent every single year, which means property taxes in Austin will double within nine years. It's absolutely unsustainable, especially in this affordability crisis where people's number one complaint is the skyrocketing cost of living," says Ellen Troxclair, Austin City Council member for District 8.
The general fund is expected to increase by almost $60 million this year alone - the total $1 billion. As a result, Council Member Ellen Troxclair is hoping to garner support in lowering the property tax rate.

"Travis County, for example, has adopted the effective tax rate for the past three years, meaning you have not paid a single penny more to Travis County then you did three years ago. That's exactly where the City of Austin should start," says Troxclair.
She says we should also consider using revenue from new development; otherwise, we may end up in an even more difficult financial situation.

"When we're talking about gentrification and being economically segregated, this is one reason why. People who have lived in Austin for years cannot afford to continue paying their increases in their property taxes," says Troxclair.
Out of the general fund, $5.5 million will be allocated for Austin City Council-driven ideas.
"In my community we need jobs and employment opportunities," says Ora Houston, Austin City Council member for District 1.

There was a lot of disagreement on what's important to the city and what should be added to the list.

"It's heart-wrenching to not be able to vote for something that I know will make a difference in people's lives because there's some other group, or population of people, that need something equally, if not more so," says Houston.
Council members are hoping in the end, all districts will be well represented. The meeting will start Wednesday morning at 9:30 and go well into the night.