Austin Metropolis Council desires property tax to be diminished

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Austin City Council approved one proposal Thursday – and gave another initial approval – to relieve homeowners on property taxes.

The Council passed an ordinance in first and second reading to increase the exemption of homesteads from city property tax from 10% to a maximum of 20% in accordance with the law of the country. An additional exemption for homeowners 65 and over or people with disabilities has also been approved, increasing the tax exemption from $ 88,000 to a maximum of $ 113,000.

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The average household saves $ 141 a year, according to staff at Austin Mayor Steve Adler.

“What we do know is that property tax at all levels is a tax that harms people with low wages more than people with higher wages because they pay a larger percentage of their income in property taxes than the richest,” Adler said. “City taxes are only a small part of the tax burden – around 20% – but we still have to do everything we can to work on that 20% and keep it as low as possible, and I think these exemptions can help with that. “.”

Part of the tax burden will shift to commercial real estate and apartment buildings such as residential complexes. However, Adler said the additional annual cost of a unit is unlikely to exceed a few dollars.

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John Sheppard, an Austin real estate agent and homeowner, testified before the city council for the exemptions.

Annual property taxes on his south Austin home, which he and his wife bought more than 20 years ago, exceed $ 6,000 a year.

“I’m just trying to stay in the neighborhood,” said Sheppard. “Above all, it will be very difficult (because of) the taxes.”

Sheppard is grateful that city guides are paying attention to the issue, but said state lawmakers have a responsibility to address rising property taxes – the city’s homesteads are capped at 20% exemption under state law.

“There are all kinds of incentives for people to move to Austin. Can we find a reason to help people stay in Austin?” he said.