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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.

Frank Ward III

City Council, District 8

We are getting taxed into oblivion. Property taxes are becoming a massive burden on so many people, especially folks in Southwest Austin, where nearly seventy percent of our residents are homeowners. The fact is, on population growth alone, Austin is bringing in close to $50 million through additional property tax revenue, sales tax, and other fees; which is why it makes absolutely no sense that we continue to up the property tax burden on residents across the city. We have the opportunity to right City Hall’s priorities through a third party efficiency audit (which is why we need to support Prop K). 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.