“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.There are no state income taxes in Texas, which complicates the analysis, but rising property values put homeowners in a rough place, particularly if those homeowners want their city government to spend money on amenities.
“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.”
The arrival of this year’s appraisal notices — which in Travis County showed homes’ average market values jumped 12.6 percent and average taxable values rose 8 percent for 2014 — is sparking a push for reform. Similar jumps have occurred in Williamson and Hays counties.
In Illinois, there is a state income tax, but rising property values push some homeowners to protest.
Jeff McGrath and Dan Aylward paid thousands of dollars of real estate taxes with $1 bills at the county treasurer's office and vowed to do so again in September and every due date afterward until the taxes stop increasing.You want good schools, you get good schools, then property values go up? Not necessarily.
Both men say there is too much government and way too much being paid to school administrators. Both men say though the market value of their homes may not be considered pricey, their properties won't sell because the taxes are too high.With the state legislature being unable to put proper budgets together, property tax relief extracted by Springfield through the income and sales taxes might not be immediately forthcoming.