The PJ Tatler

Liberal Learns the Hard Way: When You Vote For Every Government Spending Project, Your Taxes Go Up

Austin is just full of geniuses like this.

On a recent evening, more than 300 homeowners who are worried about their rising property tax bills filled First Unitarian Universalist Church in North Austin for a town hall meeting. If something doesn’t change, many said, they will soon be priced out of their homes.

Two nights later, a similar discussion played out in South Austin, where homeowners gathered at Grace United Methodist Church in Travis Heights to talk about what can be done to slow escalating residential tax values.

“I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year.

“It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore. I’ll protest my appraisal notice, but that’s not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture.”

Let’s see if we can figure out the the cause and effect here. You voted for every single spending project that was put before you. Then your taxes went up and you can’t afford to live where you live anymore. And your remedy — “Someone needs to step in and address the big picture.”

That someone was you, when all those spending projects were being proposed. And you failed.