, ,  Austin Chamber of Commerce View All Reponses >>

In a recent poll, residents of Austin cited rising property taxes as a major issue they face, iconic business are having to close their doors and longtime residents are moving out citing rising property taxes. Some have also cited homelessness as an impediment to business. How would you slow or stop the increase in City property taxes, encourage other taxing entities to do the same, and balance the requests for more funding coming from the City Departments and the public? One example of the request of more funding is to expand social service contracts to meet needs, including to provide more supportive housing programs. How do you balance less taxes and increased demand for social services? Please explain.

Mariana Salazar

City Council, District 1

To assist homeowners affected by increased property taxes, I will support exploring policies that prevent our families from being pushed out of Austin. Examples of these policies include: – Supporting legislation for a flat-dollar-amount homestead exemption for all local taxing entities. -Expanding the use of community land trusts (CLT), where homeowners own the property and not the land and only pay property taxes on the property. Currently CLTs in Austin have been targeted towards new homeowners, but there is an opportunity to expand their use to serve existing homeowners interested in this shared ownership model. – Creating a city homestead exemption enrollment program – for people that are eligible but have not applied for their exemption, either because of lack of awareness or not knowing how to apply. This would include persons who are eligible for the senior and disability exemptions. It’s important that material and outreach for a homestead exemption program enrollment be available in other languages (other than English) to reach all our community members who do not speak English. – Funding a neighborhood stabilization loan program, providing low-income families with longer term assistance (lower interest rates loans) to stay in the homes. Supporting education programs for vulnerable homeowners including the flipper education program that just was adopted by City Council. Supporting the affordable housing bond which includes a subsidized homeownership component. I think one area the city should continue to explore to expand social service is levering the funds from philanthropy including local, state and national foundations.