,  Black Austin Democrats View All Reponses >>

Rising property taxes are a growing concern. There are a number of people who believe taxes are high because the city provides not only essential city services (police, fire, etc.) but non-essential services (social service contracts, education funding, etc.) If elected, how would you prioritize what is or is not an essential city service?

Amit Motwani

City Council, District 3

The hierarchy of “non-essential” services should be determined by which ones apply to and support  those in our community who are the most vulnerable and have the least voice, e.g. our seniors (on fixed incomes, especially), our young children, our economically disadvantaged families and individuals who are disproportionately of color, our immigrant residents–ALL of them–and those folks who are powering the economic growth machine that our city has become: our food and beverage service industry staff, our musicians and artists who are responsible for the environment that attracts so many folks worldwide, and our educators, school staff, social workers, and nonprofit staff who, despite unquantifiably valuable work in ensuring resilience in character and our economic future, are increasingly unable to afford living in the community they contribute to.  My belief is that in a hostile state legislative environment that limits our ability to to substantially create affordability directly related to housing, we must locally strengthen the supports associated with social service need to approach affordability from a different angle; if affordability is unreachable, we MUST find ways to raise the floor. When we consider that over half of our children in public schools are economically disadvantaged, these services can easily be viewed as requisite investments in our creative work force as opposed to “non-essential” services. Please see also response to housing affordability question above.