By Barbara Cilley*
We now live in a culture of misinformation. Do we need vaccinations?* Are you sure we can trust their safety?* Are masks effective or not?* Should we go to restaurants or not?* Every day all of us are stressing out about how we survive the next headline. And whether we believe it or not. Then Austin City Council passed ballot measure language for Proposition A that does not accurately reflect the reality of a 24.6% tax increase.
By the time the November 3rd election rolls around, our local government will have spent millions selling Project Connect under the guise of public information. Project Connect creates the impression Prop A solves problems that the passage of the measure cannot possibly address. Prop A language would have us believe that passing this measure will help solve global warming and provide for social equity. Really?! What Project Connect truly represents is the largest tax increase in the history of the City of Austin. (Oh, by the way, good luck finding this language on the City website).
The City of Austin is selling Prop A on its website as an 8.75 cent tax increase. Yes, it is, but it is also a 24.6% tax increase over the current tax rate. It is easy to see why they don’t want us to focus on the actual percentage because 8.75 cents doesn’t seem like very much money. But it’s billions of dollars for a very uncertain financial plan in the context of a very uncertain future.
Let us be clear. This is the highest stake election we have ever had locally. A tax election means the tax increase goes on forever. This election and its outcome are going to determine who can live here and who can’t.
To calculate your tax increase, visit the Voices of Austin Calculator: voicesofaustin.org/calculator
Barbara Cilley is an advisor and friend of Voices of Austin. Barbara has served on numerous City of Austin and Travis County boards and commissions. Barbara has a Master’s of Science in Community and Regional Planning.
*Editor’s note: As someone considered vulnerable, Barbara takes COVID-19 seriously and recommends you listen to experts, wear your mask and get vaccines. Those were rhetorical questions.