in Houston, Texas
Austin-area homeowners won’t see tax break if bevy of government entities have their way
Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012, 04:47PM CST
By Curt Olson
broke

About 10,000 property owners in northeastern Travis County face the possibility over the next two years of five taxing jurisdictions raising tax rates in addition to possible higher electric rates and other fees from Austin utilities.

People with homes or businesses in the Pflugerville school district, Central Health, City of Austin, Travis County and Austin Community College could see a combined 14.67-cent rate increase per $100 of assessed value the next two years, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Pflugerville’s increase to pay off debt and Central Health’s increase to fund some operations of a proposed medical school require voter approval while the others don’t.

Under unchanged tax rates and current decreased property values, the average property owner in this area would see an tax break of $129. Increasing tax rates change the personal finance dynamics and approval of Central Health’s plan would raise taxes $100 on certain taxpayers come January 2014, the Statesman reported. Meanwhile, the value of commercial property has risen 9.1 percent, to $2.8 million from $2.54 million, which will raise that tax burden even higher.

Tax rate hikes may be compounded by Austin Energy’s rate hike in October and other Austin utilities that serve these residents and businesses also hiking rates for water, sewer and trash removal.

The following are the planned tax rate increases per $100 of assessed valuation in question for these Austin area residents, as the Statesman reports:

  • Pflugerville school district’s 6 cents is on the ballot.
  • Central Health’s 5 cents is on the ballot for bills due January 2014.
  • Austin proposes 2.18 cents.
  • Travis County proposes 1.46 cents.
  • Austin Community College proposes 0.03 cents.

The $385 million bond issue on the ballot for libraries, roads, housing and other projects in Austin would not raise Austin’s debt portion of the tax rate, the Statesman reports.

The quintuple hit of taxes leaves some current residents considering their options.

"Talking with my friends in some of the nearby cities about all the taxes here in Austin makes me want to get out,” as the Statesman quoted Dan Repich, who lives in the area in question.

Odds are, he’s not alone.

***
Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

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