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Affordability is discussed a lot in our community. How do you define affordability?

Frank Ward III

City Council, District 8

Countless individuals and families are finding it more and more difficult to afford to live here in Austin—this is largely because of the unnecessary tax burden being imposed on us through year-over-year property tax increases that are simply not justified. No one is more affected by this unreasonable spike in affordability than those on low or fixed incomes, as it is now extremely difficult—if not impossible—for many of our fellow citizens to remain in the city they love and have called home for years. Reducing the effect of the growing property tax burden by freezing property taxes for a time, and then, permanently increasing the city’s homestead exemption to 20 percent, boosting the senior property tax exemption and other property tax exemptions for those in need will do much to help. Of course, focusing on responsible spending at the local level will be what provides greater relief—and will help to alleviate the affordability crisis—in both the short- and long-term. Additionally, we must work to ensure that Austin Energy and Austin Water have reasonable rates and are charging customers accurately. All of these efforts combined will provide residents of the city with much needed—and realistically achieved—relief, and help to refocus City Hall on what our real priorities should be.