Tag Archives: Steve Adler Austin

Steve Adler Supports City Homestead Exemption

By Bill Oakey – August 5, 2014

Voters who were still undecided in the mayor’s race can breathe a big sigh of relief.  The decision just got a whole lot easier with yesterday’s announcement.  Steve Adler is calling for the City to adopt a 20% residential homestead exemption on our property taxes.  No sooner did the words spring forth from his lips, than Mike Martinez and Sheryl Cole shrieked their resistance.

Of course the City cannot be more responsible in its budget.  Of course they can’t grant us the very same exemption that Travis County has offered for two decades!  What an outlandish and preposterous idea!  The financial rule of thumb at City Hall has been to spend as much money as possible as quickly as possible. And if there is a budget surplus in midyear, be the first out the door with ways to spend that too.

That’s precisely why Austin has an affordability problem.  If the local leadership does not set the right tone, every other group, public or private, will assume that we don’t have a problem.  But this time around, the citizens know better.  We have seen how affordability affects our own family budgets.  And we cringe at the thought of so many good people having to sell their homes and leave Austin.

What we need to do is tell Mike Martinez and Sheryl Cole that their time is up.  They each had eight years to steer the City onto an affordable path.  Instead they did the exact opposite.  Both major utilities are facing unending rate increases.  Taxes and fees at every level have spiraled out of control.  So, why should we expect anything more than business as usual from either incumbent candidate for mayor?

Here’s What Steve Adler Says About the Homestead Exemption

“Yesterday, as I officially filed for Mayor on the City of Austin ballot, I announced my support for a twenty percent property tax homestead exemption for Austin homeowners. I hope you’ll join my efforts in charting a new way forward, away from the same old policies that have left our city the most unaffordable in the state.”

“The time has come for tax relief for Austin homeowners. I propose phasing this in over four years in a revenue-neutral way, without cutting city services and without significantly impacting renters.”

“I would prefer this homestead exemption be a flat amount instead of a percentage, but state law does not provide that remedy. A twenty percent homestead exemption is the maximum allowed by Texas state law, and is one of the only tools we have for property tax relief now. As mayor, I will fight hard at the legislature for more fairness in our tax structure.”

But What About Those Loud Voices Criticizing Steve Adler on the Environment?

Out of hundreds of legal cases over a long career, Steve participated in a tiny number of cases that were not favorable to the environment.  It is a huge stretch to even think about comparing those to the untold number of harmful votes by both Mike Martinez and Sheryl Cole.  During eight years in office, they attended close to 400 City Council meetings.  In that time period, they voted against neighborhoods and the environment dozens upon dozens of times.

If you are happy with the status of development over the Edwards Aquifer, or the wasteful spending on Water Treatment Plant #4, or the steady erosion of neighborhood plans and protections, then feel free to vote for more of the same.  If you have not met with Steve or attended a forum to listen to his ideas, then keep an open mind about him.  You owe it to yourself to consider a fresh start to a badly broken and unaffordable system at City Hall.

The next time you pull out your wallet or purse, ask yourself if you are better off than you were a few years ago.

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Ask yourself if you can afford more of the same.  Or, if you would rather vote for a mayor like Steve Adler, who will listen to all of the people instead of just the special interests.

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Let’s All Get Behind Steve Adler For Mayor!

By Bill Oakey – July 2, 2014

As Austin transitions to a new 10-1 district system for electing City Council members, we face a unique opportunity to consider new leadership in the mayor’s race.  As someone who has worked hard to find solutions to Austin’s affordability issues, I am pleased to support Steve Adler to be our next mayor.

SIA HeadshotA new way forward

I urge everyone who has not yet learned about Steve to check out his campaign website here.

For many, the decision on whom to support in the mayor’s race may not seem easy.  It was difficult for me as well initially.  But one thing became clear right away.  The two incumbents on the City Council who are running for mayor have one huge disadvantage.  Their voting records do not stand up to the challenges we face on affordability.  A fairly simple test can be applied when considering either one of the incumbents.  If they come to a public forum now and announce that they have found a solution to affordability, just ask yourself one question.  Why haven’t they done something about it already?  They have been on the Council for several years.

Now It Is Time For A Change.  Here’s Why Steve Adler Is Our Best Choice

Here are some of Steve’s positions on affordability:

1. Truth In Taxation and Transparency

Steve:  “There should full transparency when it comes to taxation and the
budget.  Austin taxpayers must be told where their money is going and how
much in taxes, both rate and amount, they are being asked to pay.  We must
better ensure truth in taxation and in the budget.”

Steve and I have discussed my proposal for a Taxpayer Impact Statement to be included in the budget.  The new reform will ensure that the City Council can no longer just say they are “holding the line on the tax rate,” when skyrocketing tax appraisals cause huge tax increases.  Steve is so firm on this issue that he has challenged me to help him make sure that the reform as adopted will be rock solid.

2. City Council Meeting Agenda Reform

Steve:  “Citizens have the right to a meaningful and accessible opportunity to be heard when the City Council is making decisions that affect their lives.  The current agenda process must be reformed so as avoid having citizens sit for too many hours before their item comes up for discussion and in too many cases is postponed without meaningful advance notice.”

This reform proposal began in 1986 and has now reached its 28th anniversary.  Let’s elect Steve so we can celebrate a true victory for the voices of the people at City Hall!

3. Property Tax Inequity Between Homeowners and Commercial Taxpayers

Steve:  “Our inequitable Texas tax system unduly burdens residential property owners and tenants.  Like so many of Austin¹s challenges, this is a problem we have experienced for years and have failed to make substantial progress. We must be far more proactive in working with the Mayors and City Councils in other towns and cities throughout the State to bring real reform to this unfair system and in pushing forward and supporting our City’s state delegation. We must increase residential property exemptions and do so in an equitable manner.”

Steve’s experience working in the Legislature will help us carry this battle across the finish line.

Why Do I Think Steve Adler Is The Best Person for the Job?

The guy is just so gosh-darned smart!  It’s not even fair that he’s that smart.  But he is and we need to tell everyone we know that he’s the one we need for mayor.  Email, Facebook and Tweet this blog posting.  Go to his website and sign up to be notified of his upcoming events.  Click on the DONATE button at the top of the screen.  Bring your neighbors and friends to his events and to the public forums in the mayor’s race.  In November, we can either go back to business as usual or join Steve in a New Way Forward.

SIA HeadshotA new way forward