I’mBy Bill Oakey – April 5, 2016
There would be no “Christmas in July” for Austin seniors this summer if the City moves forward with a new plan to take over funding of many of AISD’s social services. The tax swap idea sounds good to the school district, since they would be able to lower the amount of “Robin Hood” recapture money that they have to send back to the State. But a 1987 State law (which began as a proposal on my old Sears typewriter) freezes school taxes for seniors age 65 and older and the disabled.
The Race Is On
Right now the State of Texas is embroiled in a complex legal case with numerous school districts, including AISD over the Constitutionality of the Robin Hood system of funding Texas Schools. That case still has many miles over rocky roads to travel before probably finally being settled by the State Supreme Court.
Meanwhile the race is on for the City to study, debate and gather public input on the new social services tax swap plan. AISD’s fiscal year begins on July 1st. But there are so many questions. What would happen to the tax swap if the State Supreme Court threw out the current school finance system. Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait until the court battles are finished, and a new statewide tax plan is adopted?
The City Would Need An Offsetting Tax Adjustment to Protect Seniors!
if the City were to implement the tax swap, they would need to adjust their own over-65 homestead exemption for seniors and index it every year to maintain the intent of the 1987 school tax freeze. Everybody needs to contact their City Council members as soon as possible to ensure that this proper step is taken to protect seniors and disabled homeowners.