By Bill Oakey – October 24, 2022
The big $2.44 billion AISD bond proposition on the ballot will cost taxpayers many times more than the one penny per $100 valuation that they have publicized. They skirted around the law with a crazy loophole. State law requires them to publicize the tax impact on a $100,000 home. So, technically, that is what they did. The estimated tax rate impact would be one cent, if you take the $100,000 home value and subtract the $40,000 homestead exemption. That leaves just $60,000 as the valuation to apply the tax rate to.
Well, that’s misleading, because the median home taxable valuation in Austin is over $500,000. And the $40,000 homestead exemption applies to the whole taxable value. So, $500,000 minus $40,000 leaves $460,000 to apply the tax rate increase to! $460,000 is over 7 times higher than $60,000. So, the tax impact on the owner of an average home is at least 7 times higher than what the voters have been told!
Voters just need to keep this in mind. The greater Austin area has never had a $2.44 billion bond issue in its entire history. We have had many smaller bond issues that have raised taxes more than one penny per $100 evaluation. So, how is it possible that this one could be so different? How could the taxpayer impact be so small?
The Answer Is Simple – It Can’t!
This information was provided to me over the weekend, by former Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector, Bill Aleshire. AISD officials have some explaining to do. They need to be called onto the public carpet and held accountable. The full cost to the taxpayers is required under the spirit of the law. Taxpayer advocates have already met with lawmakers, including Senator Paul Bettencourt, to ensure that the gaping loophole is tightly sewn up, during the next Legislative session in January.
Using such a loophole to deceive voters is shameful, and reflects poorly on AISD’s Board of Trustees – or should I say, Board of Mistrustees? Check it out. Go to the AISD website. Under the heading, “2022 Bond,” Click on “Voter Information Documents.”
On the first page, in Item number 7, AISD states that the estimated tax increase on a $100,000 home is only $6.00. But they subtracted the $40,000 homestead exemption. That means that they are only using $60,000 to do the tax increase calculation.
For an accurate and honest message to the voters, AISD should have show us what the estimated new tax would be on a median-value home, at over $500,000. The tax amount will probably be higher in the first couple of years, because of the steep rise in interest rates. And AISD did not publish what the tax impact would be in later years, as more bonds are gradually sold.
Austin Community College (ACC) has a $770 million bond on the ballot. Their taxpayer impact is estimated at $5.00 on a $500,000 home for the first five years, and $25 per year for each year thereafter. You can easily see that AISD’s estimate for $2.44 billion in bonds is wildly understated. Here is the link for ACC.
The Total Amount of Bonds On the Ballot Adds Up to $3.56 Billion!
AISD’s $2,440,000,000 + ACC’s $770,000,000 + Aistin’s $350,000,000 = $3.56 Billion
Any way you slice it, this is an extraordinary, historic event for the Austin area. And yet, it has flashed before our eyes with barely anyone noticing. And early voting started Monday. Any of you who are over 65 or disabled won’t be hit as hard. But everyone else should buckle up, and prepare for some severe property tax shock, along with a triple dose of electric rate shock, which starts at one minute past midnight on Halloween night…
The saddest part of all this is that AISD really needs the school upgrades and repairs that the bonds would fund. Voters will need to make some difficult choices. AISD should help them by immediately clarifying the misleading information, with clear, simple, full and complete facts. And do that as soon as possible.
What Happens In School When Somebody Misbehaves?
Several AISD officials should be summoned to the nearest principal’s office. A designated teacher should smack each one of them with a ruler…See photos below: