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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.

Kathie Tovo

City Council, District 9

Unfortunately, due to the system of school financing that the state has established, most of the changes in a property owner’s property tax bill are beyond the City’s control. Over the last five years, almost 70 percent of the increase in the average homeowner’s property tax bill went to the state; the state now takes in more property tax revenue from the average Austin resident than the City does. With this in mind, I have tried to seek innovative solutions to this recurring and acute problem, such as a “tax swap” that would shift services currently offered by the school district to the City in order to lower the overall tax burden on residents.