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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Troxclair seeking higher homestead exemption
Friday, June 16, 2017 by Jo Clifton
City Council Member Ellen Troxclair is seeking cosponsors for her proposed resolution to raise the city’s homestead exemption from its current level of 8 percent to 14 percent. Troxclair, Council’s only conservative, posted her resolution on the City Council Message Board on Thursday. Along with the resolution, Troxclair noted, “The deadline for us to take action is July 1st so we would need to act next week on this important item.” Last year, Council raised the homestead exemption from 6 percent to 8 percent, but the vote was 6 to 5 with Mayor Steve Adler and Council Member Leslie Pool voting for the exemption. Pool and Adler have already indicated that they believe the city does not have enough funding to consider raising the exemption this year and it seems unlikely that they would change their minds. Last year’s 2 percent increase cost the city an estimated $3.8 million. However, Troxclair insists that Council made a commitment to phase in a 20 percent homestead exemption over four years, starting in 2015. Deputy Chief Financial Officer Ed Van Eenoo told Council in April that setting the exemption at 10 percent would result in a $23.61 tax reduction for the typical homeowner and cost the General Fund about $3.3 million. The impending special session of the Texas Legislature, which includes a call to limit property tax increases to 5 percent, would be another reason for Troxclair’s colleagues to reject increasing the exemption. However, Troxclair’s staff said she is hopeful of finding a cosponsor.
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