If you live in Austin, then get ready for more government spending and higher taxes.
Yesterday, the Austin City Council adopted its budget for fiscal year 2016-17 and the new $3.7 billion dollar behemoth will spend roughly $4,000 per Austinite. That’s more spending compared to last year’s total budget ($3.5 billion) and way more spending compared to the 2006-07 budget ($2.3 billion).
Discretionary spending is up in a big way too. For fiscal 2016-17, the city’s general fund is estimated at $970 million. Last year, that same pot of money totaled $911.1 million, meaning that discretionary city spending is up year-over-year by 6.5 percent. Since the 2006-07 budget, the general fund ($534.6 million) has increased by more than 80 percent.
While the mayor issued a statement applauding the new budget for “balanc[ing] affordability with our critical needs,” it’s difficult to understand how growing city government at this rate will help homeowners and businesses who are already struggling to afford the cost of living to remain. Especially in light of the new taxes and fees.
The new budget contains a mix of tax and fee increases (see here for more details), but at the end of the day, the average Austinite can expect to pay about $87 more per month for city government. That means that in order to live in Austin, the average person must pay the city a total of $322.08 per month just to cover all the taxes and fees. For far too many, that’s simply not affordable.