City Of Austin Short-Changes Senior Homeowners

By Bill Oakey – March 20, 2014

UPDATE: Austin seniors and disabled homeowners won a major victory today!  Their homestead exemption was increased from $51,000 to $70,000.  The vote was 5-2 at the City Council.  More details in a new blog post will be coming tomorrow.

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Posted Earlier:

Today the Austin City Council will once again debate a possible increase to the over-65 and disabled homestead exemption for property taxes.

In yet another sad affordability statistic for Austin, we have the lowest over-65 homestead exemption among the largest cities in Texas.  (See the chart of cities at the end).

And to make matters worse, it is well known that Austin has the highest real estate property values in the state, which further adds to the tax burden for seniors.  The issue for the City Council is how to evaluate the budget impact of increasing the exemption.  But, whatever it takes, it seems long overdue for many seniors, such as retired teachers and State employees, who have not received a cost of living increase since 2001.  Thousands of others are living on fixed incomes as well.

Here is the list of over-65 exemptions for the 2013 tax year:

Austin – $51,000

Source: http://www.traviscountytax.org/goPropertiesRatesExemptions.do

Houston – $80,000

Source: http://www.hcad.org/resources/jurlist.asp

San Antonio – $65,000

Source: http://www.bexar.org/tax/PropertyTaxRates2013.html

Dallas – $64,000

Source: http://www.dallascad.org/TaxRates.aspx

Once again, it’s time to email, tweet, and Facebook your friends and ask them to let their voices be heard.  Use this easy one-click email link to all 7 City Council Members.

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