Courthouse Steps

Yesterday, I attended AURA’s panel on the proposed Travis County Civil and Family Complex.  This project is commonly referred to as the “new Courthouse”.  What follows is my transcription of the panel’s discussion.


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Posted in Travis County

“Save Our Mansions” exemption fuels inequality

The percentage-based homestead exemption is an unfair tax shift that will disproportionately benefit the wealthiest homeowners.  More effective affordability alternatives should be pursued instead.


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Posted in Fiscal

Mansion Exemption Alternatives

I asked a dozen of the most policy-minded critics of the “mansion exemption” for alternative ways of spending approximately $30 million annually to boost Austin’s affordability. Here are the four main themes that came across in their responses.


The 20% homestead exemption’s dollars flow to the district’s with the highest median incomes. 

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Posted in Fiscal | 1 Comment

Undoing HEx’s spell

There are better tools to solve the ‘affordability’ problem than a 20% homestead exemption (HEx). Here’s what progressive, fiscally-responsible Austinites must argue.

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Posted in Fiscal

Why you can’t have bus service

Your community isn’t dense enough to justify using scarce transit operating funds to serve it. Providing service to your community would probably decrease overall ridership.

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Posted in Transit

MoPac, Mo Problems

Important changes are coming to MoPac. But they won’t help you safely get places faster. For real improvement, we need a shift away from car-centric, low-density policies.

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Posted in Development, Transit, Transportation

More than Four

Yesterday, Mayor Adler invited me to discuss transportation with the new Austin City Council. I encouraged Council to pursue policies that would increase Austin’s transit mode share from our current 4%.  Increasing the use of public transportation would help ameliorate the pain Austinites endure from traffic congestion, as well as support affordability by reducing household transportation expenses.


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Posted in Transit, Transportation