The city of Austin is known for its exorbitantly high tax rates, with these figures increasing dramatically for individual residents in recent years. Notably, property taxes have been raised to 43.86 cents per $100 and have increased as much as 100 percent over the last 11 years. 

One of the most recent additions has been a tax increase on hotel stays, which would charge an additional percentage for anyone spending the night in a hotel within city limits. The revenue gained from such a “hotel tax” is intended to be used in a billion dollar expansion of the Austin Convention Center, as well as cultural and historical preservation efforts.

But the city is not the only local institution trying to involve itself in the taxation game, nor the only one planning to use such funds for civil expansion.

Travis County authorities have likewise been entertaining the imposition of a hotel tax, with the goal of using the funds to reconstruct the Travis County Expo Center. Such taxes would be levied on visiting guests.

Hotel taxes like these are estimated to be capable of pulling in over $21 million in annual revenue. However, a lack of communication between city and county authorities has led to confusion over who can tap into the lucrative resource.

The City of Austin and Travis County are fighting over who gets to tax residents to renovate the Austin Convention Center (top) and Travis County Expo Center (bottom)

The confusion has caused tension between both parties. While Austin Mayor Steve Adler has stated that he “never heard the county suggest they had any intention to stop the convention center expansion,” county judge Sarah Eckhardt labeled the disagreement a “competition” between the convention center and county expo facility. 

Yet as these two conglomerates sort out who gets what slice of cash, in typical government fashion, those who are most affected are left out of the conversation. Taxpayers, many of whom have become increasingly overburdened by Austin’s big-government taxation policies, are suffering.

Austin’s liberal authorities have made it the most expensive Texas city to live in. Residents are paying more and more money to cover more and more inordinate projects. Such action has become commonplace in liberal communities, but it is still a stunning optic to watch both city and county authorities jostle over who gets to tax the people more money—all the while, forgetting the taxpayers themselves.

Sam Samson

Sam Samson is a third-year Government Honors major at the University of Texas and is an officer at UT's Young Conservatives of Texas. His political experience includes serving as both a staffer in the office of Senator Ted Cruz and as a member of two leadership missions to Israel. Besides being an overt Traditional Catholic, he loves friends and family, golfing, playing piano, debating hot takes, and is an avid world traveller, having visited 26 countries.