For all the talk about Austin’s affordability challenges, Central Texas’ local governments continue to raise taxes and fees, pushing up the cost of owning a home and pushing out many longtime residents.
The latest bid to squeeze more out of homeowners comes from the Austin Independent School District. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Austin’s school board is set to consider a budget proposal that, if adopted, would push the average homeowner’s property tax bill up by $168 per year. Incredibly, this rather large tax hike is being sought even though AISD’s enrollment is shrinking by 569 students.
Putting even more pressure on homeowners is the fact that AISD isn’t the only one asking for more. Both the City of Austin and Travis County are also seeking additional tax and fee increases, with the city’s proposed budget set to soak the average homeowner for $136 more per year and the county asking for a bump of $22 per year. .
All told, the average Central Texan faces a tax and fee hike of almost $350 in the coming tax year. That’s a hefty increase in today’s economic climate and, of course, it doesn’t even begin to take into account any tax and fee increases passed along by nearby special districts.
All of which lends further credence to the argument that Texas’ local governments need a tax and expenditure limit in place to protect Texans from runaway local spending.
*Includes estimated annual impact of proposed rate and fee changes on a “typical” residential rate payer.