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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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City to help fund agencies preparing taxes
Monday, April 13, 2020 by Jo Clifton
Last week City Council directed City Manager Spencer Cronk to evaluate proposals from social service providers to help people file their federal income taxes – apparently a prerequisite for getting a federal stimulus check. The resolution started as an inquiry about how a ruling from Attorney General Ken Paxton may have weakened city regulations governing payday lenders. Council directed Cronk to look into that also. The chief sponsor of the item was Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza. Adler, a co-sponsor, said Thursday, “There are a lot of people in the city that just haven’t filed returns for lots of different reasons, including the fact that they haven’t made enough money in order to be able to pay taxes. … But someone who hasn’t filed for that reason will not be eligible for one of the checks. So I really appreciate this effort to ask the manager to negotiate a contract with Foundation Communities to continue a program that they run, which has been great, with the hope that we could pull down an additional $30 million to folks in our community who otherwise would not be able to receive that money.” Garza pointed out that the resolution did not refer to any specific service provider, and Adler said he would not have voted for it if it had. Nevertheless, Foundation Communities is already set up to do the work. A visit to the nonprofit’s website explains how it is helping people file their taxes online, a service planned to continue through May 8.