Tag Archives: Austin budget

You Can Help Win The Taxpayer Battle!

By Bill Oakey – April 28, 2021

Let’s cut right to the chase. We now have the facts we need to win a taxpayer victory, with the Federal Rescue Plan funds. The City will have to recognize that an 8% maximum tax increase won’t be necessary in the upcoming budget. They can simply cover the shortfall with the Federal funds. You’re going to be amazed, when you see how obvious the evidence looks:

1. Houston – City Controller Chris Brown says, “A $615 million influx of federal funds will help Houston stave off a potentially disastrous budget season.”

2. New Orleans – Officials said that they hope to stretch the funds to cover what could be years of budget shortfalls from the drop-off in tourism and sales taxes.

3. Grand Rapids, Michigan – Proposed budget shortfalls offset by American Rescue Plan

4. Memphis – This is the clincher! Mayor Strickland: “Federal funds will go to budget shortfalls, the tax rate will go down.”

5. Kansas City, Missouri – Received $195 million, exactly what Austin got! They will use it to restore budget cuts and enhance public services.

Check out my clumsy attempt at poetry, and then hit the single-click link to send an email to the Mayor and all 10 City Council members.

What’s wrong with some of our local officials?
Are they too inept to even write their initials?
All they have to do is look around
The solution is right there, so easily found

From Memphis to Grand Rapids, and towns in between
They’re applying Federal funds to their budgets so lean
In Austin where homes are so hard to afford
They just want to tax us, good gracious, Good Lord!

I research this stuff in the dead of night
And I’m nowhere near ready to give up the fight!
So, City Council members and County Commissioners too
The taxpayers are advancing, you know what to do!

Please use this single-click link to email the Mayor and City Council. Be polite, ask them to do right, and we can win this fight!

Then share this blog piece with everyone you know, and post it on social media.

Musical Accompaniment For This Blog Piece:

1. “Memphis” – Johnny Rivers
2. “Way Down Yonder In New Orleans”– Freddy Cannon
3. “Houston” – Dean Martin
4. “Saginaw, Michigan” – Lefty Frizzell
5. “Kansas City” – Wilbert Harrison
6. “Walkin’ To Missouri” – Sammy Kaye, 1952. First record in my music collection, at age 5

10,000 Page Views – And It’s Time To Ask For Accountability!

By Bill Oakey – July 22, 2014

This blog has now passed the 10,000 mark for page views.  That’s because here in Austin, 2014 has become the tipping point for affordability.  We can no longer afford to stand by while public officials spend our money without serious accountability reforms.  We need bold initiatives to steer us away from business as usual.

Nobody Will Tell Us How Much Money Is Left In the City Budget!

Year after year, the Austin City Council pads the City Budget with surplus funds, yet does not provide transparency for the taxpayers.  Even the Council does not track the running surplus balance because they have yet to adopt my proposal to ask the City Manager to present quarterly reports on the breakdown of surplus funds to the Audit and Finance Committee.  This blog and its followers were able to halt the spending of a $14 million surplus that was declared back in February.  And with unfilled staff vacancies representing nearly 10% of the workforce still on the books, plus sales tax and permitting fees on the rise, we have no inkling of how much surplus funds could be used to lower taxes and reduce a water rate increase.  It is time for all of us to hold them accountable!

What Can You Do to Help?

On August 5th, the City Council will hold their first work session on the budget.  Now is the time for all of us and our friends to contact them and ask for full accountability on the surplus funds in the budget.  If we leave it to the City Manager, the surplus will be quickly and quietly absorbed into new spending projects.  Let’s ask for the detailed quarterly reports on the budget surplus, and insist that the full amount be applied to lower taxes and utility rate relief.  You can contact all 7 City Council members with one click, using this link.

How to Get the Most Out of This Blog

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Don’t Let Your Friends, Neighbors, and Co-Workers Miss Out on Affordability Updates

Be sure to email, tweet, and Facebook everyone on your contact lists with a link to this blog. Stay up to date on the upcoming City Council races, affordability reforms, and the need to defeat the incredibly wasteful urban rail bonds that will be on the ballot in November.