Without knowing exactly how much they’re committing, Austin City Council voted earlier today to earmark all property tax revenue (from development areas not on the rolls as of January 1st) to the Austin Housing Trust Fund – Austin’s low income housing subsidization program.
The move, which passed council by a vote of 8-3 (with only Councilmembers Don Zimmerman, Ellen Troxclair, and Sherri Gallo voting against), will more than double the amount of property tax revenue dedicated for subsidizing low-income housing. Previously, 40 percent of revenue from development areas was dedicated. This move pushes that figure to 100 percent – before the developments are even complete.
Councilmember Zimmerman, who voted against the item, suggested that a better route would be to sell city-owned property to private buyers — who would then contribute all taxes for general purposes which those properties would require — instead of towards housing subsidies. Councilmember Gallo also voiced opposition to the increased allocation, stating that the grab of property taxes was just too huge to dedicate, especially without knowing how much would be coming in.