Austinites, your city officials are using millions of your dollars on a troubling project: ensuring you have less control over your own money.
Austin City Council has employed an expensive team of lobbyists who are assigned the task of swaying state and federal lawmakers to side with city council on important issues. They’re even spending big bucks on exclusive downtown office space for their team, ensuring they are close to the state Capitol to fight for what the council wants.
And what city council wants is directly against you, the taxpaying Austinite.
Take the important issue of property taxes, for example. Currently in the Texas Legislature, a new tax reform is being debated that would give Austinites more control over their property taxes. The reform, called Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 2, is quite simple: If Austin City Council (or any local government) wanted to raise your taxes more than 2.5 percent in a year, they would just have to ask you first.
City council is vehemently opposed to the idea.
Council Member Greg Casar, a self-described socialist, said the idea of asking before taking more money would be “devastating for working people.” Mayor Steve Adler even said that having to ask citizens first for more of their money is “not appropriate,” that he should simply be able to take more at will.
And in fact, taking more money is exactly what the council has been doing for years. They’re now taking 80 percent more money from the average homeowner than they did just 10 years ago.
On top of city council members and the mayor vocally expressing their disdain for the new reform, they have now spent your money hiring lobbyists to go down to the Capitol and sway lawmakers against the idea. City council spent almost $700,000 this year alone for their lobbyists’ salaries, and they’ve spent even more in years past. And the exclusive office space that’s two blocks from the Capitol will end up costing another $1 million over the next few years.
And you, the taxpaying Austinite, are footing all of those bills.
It’s disdainful enough that Austin’s city officials are opposed to simply asking citizens first for more of their money. But it’s even worse when the council uses the citizens’ money they already have to fight against citizen-empowering reforms. From the working-class Austinites’ perspective, that’s like paying someone to go rob your bank account.
Austinites who wish to end taxpayer-funded lobbying and have more control over their property taxes can contact their mayor or city council member, or sign the petition below: