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Do you support a budget at the effective tax rate so home and business owners continue to benefit from the “growth dividend” and pay the same amount in property taxes as in the previous fiscal year? How do we balance this strategy with meeting the needs of people struggling to access services due to a lack of service capacity? How do you prioritize additional funding? Where would you look for efficiencies? (Y/N; Explain)

Vincent Harding

City Council, District 1

No At the rate at which Austin is growing or in the case of an emergency, I cannot commit to never supporting a budget above the effective tax rate. With the strain that is being in part caused by rising property taxes, I think Austin should continue to consider ways to stay under the maximum rollback rate before an election can be called. An efficiency to consider is not growing the rate of the public safety budget as much as the general budget. This must be done very carefully as lives can literally be at stake. One option is to consider moving some responsibilities out of the Austin Police Department. As an example, some calls related to mental health of juvenile delinquency may be better responded to by a mental health professional or social worker. I prioritize budgeting additional funding in an equitable way to provide greater access to services. The life expectancy in 78724 is about fifteen years less than 78703 and improving access to health services, health information, parks, pools, mass transit, jobs, and healthy foods are some of the things that can help improve lives.