Since 2009, ChangeAustin.org has been working in a variety of ways to address the unfair burden placed on homeowners under a property tax system that badly needs reform. We are delighted that many of the candidates running for City Council in November are beginning to address these issues.
Please consider attending this important Property Tax Forum with former Travis County Judge Bill Aleshire, Chief Appraiser, Marya Crigler, Travis County Tax Office COO, Tina Mortan and our own Brian Rodgers. Continue reading →
We’re going to step on a few toes. We’re endorsing Sarah Eckhardt for Travis County Judge and we’re going to do a little truth telling on her opponent Andy Brown, a story which we’ve been sitting on since 2008.
This is the hottest race in Travis County and everyone knows this critical position will be decided in the Democratic primary. Moreover, we think Brown will bow to the same powerful interests donating to his campaign that seek tax subsidies, tax breaks, and special favors.Let us explain and please pardon the length of this message.
Sarah Eckhardt served 6 years on the Commissioner’s court with integrity, honesty and in the spirit of cross-partisanship. We may not agree with every vote Sarah’s ever taken – but she is not bought and paid for and she has stood firm while the rest wilted.
Watch the debate between Sarah and Andy. It’s very clear that Brown is not up to the job. He has no experience, unless you think that being a chair of a political party counts as the “experience” needed to be the chief executive of a county with an annual budget of $850 million. No matter how many times Brown says, “I’ve had 20 years experience bringing people together for progressive causes to get things done,” we remain unconvinced. (Again, watch the video on our home page, you’ll see for yourself.)
Here’s what we haven’t talked publicly about:
Brown played a particular role in defeating Proposition 2 in 2008, the effort to stop the Domain shopping mall subsidies supported by 26,000 signatures and 500 local businesses and all 4 political parties. Despite the overwhelming endorsement of the Travis County Democratic Party Executive Committee (by a 58 to 7 vote of the precinct chairs), Brown found various ways to sabotage the endorsement and prevent it from reaching the party’s enormous list of supporters. The precinct chairs had specifically asked Brown for an immediate press release of the endorsement, which he assured them would happen.
Instead, Brown stonewalled the promised press release for a month until early voting was almost over. He refused to allow Prop 2 literature at events and wouldn’t even allow a sign up with all the other endorsements at the headquarters building. Brown either participated in, or stood by and watched others create such confusion about the party’s endorsement, that many of the hundreds of volunteers that year who hit the streets and doors for Obama thought the party’s position was to defeat it. Many of these good people were at the early polls asking people to vote against Prop 2. It was defeated by just 2%.
Friends, we hope you will agree that Travis County Judge is not an entry-level position or suitable for political operatives. Next email we’re going to tell you more about where Andy’s money is coming from, so hold on to your hats.
|Bill Oakey: What Citizens Must Do About the City Budget
Bill is one of the most effective citizen activists in Texas who got the Texas legislature to enact two bills into law. One was the over-65 freeze on school property taxes. The other was a “truth in taxation” law, which reformed the guidelines for public hearing notices on property taxes published by all statewide taxing entities. Currently, Bill is working on plans to address out-of-control property tax and utility rate increases in the Austin area.
Travis County gets 70% of its money from City of Austin taxpayers. But where does the money get spent? Who benefits and where do they live? Brian will present a sneak peak of the new 27 page tax equity study to be unveiled in two weeks.