Prop A = 4% tax increase. NOT 25%

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A repeated assertion by opponents of Prop A is that it will increase your property taxes by 25%. That statement is flatly untrue. 

Here are the facts: Prop A will increase the amount that property owners pay to the city of Austin by 20% but that only amounts to a roughly 4% increase in the overall property tax bill. Most of your property taxes go to the school district, and much of that goes to the state of Texas due to the state’s (still) grossly unfair school financing system. 

Again, even if we’re just talking about city property taxes, Prop A amounts to a 20% increase, not a 25% increase. The 25% figure that Prop A opponents cite includes a small tax increase that is going to happen anyway just due to the rising cost of existing government services (rising health care costs for city employees etc). 

If Prop A is defeated, there’s a good chance that confusion over this will have a lot to do with it. The opposition understands this, which is why they continue to say 25% tax increase over and over again.  

This is what greets you when you visit the website for Voices of Austin, the dark money group run by Peck Young:

And here’s former Council Member Ellen Troxclair:

I suppose Troxclair could feign innocence by pointing out that she said “Austin” property taxes but it’s still obviously misleading. Every Austin property taxpayer pays taxes to multiple entities. People see that tweet and think of their overall property tax bill, not just the amount going to municipal government. 

Evil Mopac, the wildly popular anonymous “pro-gridlock activist” Twitter account, took the former Council member to task for misleading the public:

In most media coverage that I’ve seen, the numbers have been technically correct but often confusing and may lead voters to subscribe to the opposition’s lie. Ryan Autullo of the Statesman got a lot of grief from Prop A supporters for this tweet:

Yes, it’s accurate because it says city taxes but many –– probably most –– readers won’t understand that city taxes are but a small slice of their overall tax bill. Unfortunately, a lot of Prop A supporters jumped down his throat and ridiculed him, rather than engaging more constructively in shaping the coverage. Sigh.

If Project Connect is defeated, it will likely have a lot to do with the success of this disingenuous talking point and the failure of the Prop A campaign and the media to correct it.

This is just a small sample of what you get EVERY weekday if you subscribe to the Austin Politics Newsletter

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