City Council votes to double Austin's homestead tax exemption

Central Austin home prices reached a median price of $675,000 in April. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
Central Austin home prices reached a median price of $675,000 in April. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Central Austin home prices reached a median price of $675,000 in April. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin City Council members June 10 unanimously voted to double the city's homestead property tax exemption, one week after members approved a separate increase in exemptions for senior and disabled city homeowners.

Through the ordinance passed by council via consent, the city's previous 10% homestead tax exemption was lifted to 20%, meaning property owners will receive a 20% reduction on their appraised value if they reside in the home.

During earlier discussions of the percentage hike, several officials said their support for the measure was made possible this year by changes in state-level rules related to homestead exemptions that could have previously affected Austin's own revenue. The ordinance was sponsored by Mayor Steve Adler and cosponsored by Council Members Ann Kitchen, Paige Ellis, Pio Renteria, Leslie Pool and Mackenzie Kelly.

The item was originally up for approval last week, and its final reading was delayed following District 4 Council Member Greg Casar's ask to see a renter-focused ordinance added to accompany council's consideration of the homeowner-centered tax relief. Council on June 10 is also set to consider a Casar-sponsored ordinance that would shift $20 million in city emergency reserves to Austin's Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants assistance program. Adler, Renteria and District 2 Council Member Vanessa Fuentes are cosponsors of that proposal.

"I know this doesn’t come, as with all things, some measure of concern especially with respect to renters. We had this discussion before; I think the impact is negligible, but in any event we’re doing focused things for renters also on the agenda today, and I know that was also important to members of the council. Spending decisions are hard; budget decisions are hard, but I think it’s good we’re doing everything we can help as many people as we can especially those on fixed incomes," Adler said following the homestead item's passage.

Casar last week also spoke about the percentage-based exemption's potential to provide high-value homeowners with the greatest benefit based on the scale of the new tax reduction on their properties. While he said he supported a flat-rate system that could grant variable exemptions to residents of all home values, such a system is not permitted in Texas, and Austin is limited to a percentage-based exemption capped at the 20% approved by council.

If a homeowner's calculated exemption at 20% would total less than $5,000, their exemption would be set at the full $5,000.


The regional blood bank appealed for further donations in the wake of the June 12 shooting in downtown Austin. (Courtesy We Are Blood)
We Are Blood appeals for blood donations following weekend shooting in downtown Austin

The Central Texas nonprofit also said its blood supply remains depleted due to decreased donations through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo of a man holding robotic equipment
Tesla teams up with Austin Community College for manufacturing training and hiring program

The Tesla START program will hire and train ACC students to work with robotics and other advanced manufacturing equipment.

Austin City Council's Housing and Planning Committee met virtually June 15. (Screenshot via City of Austin)
Austin City Council members, city Realtors talk housing market increases and affordability

The median sale price of Austin homes surged past $500,000 through the first five months of 2021.

Izzy  is one of the 20 dogs in need of an emergency foster home. (Courtesy Austin Pets Alive)
Austin Pets Alive seeks emergency foster homes for dogs recovering from distemper

The Bastrop County Animal Shelter and Austin Pets Alive are seeking homes within the next 48 hours for 20 dogs facing euthanasia.

Community groups painted "Black Austin Matters" along three blocks of Congress Avenue in 2020. Juneteenth, an official city of Austin holiday as of 2020, commemorates the day Black residents of Texas found out they were free from slavery in 1865. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Juneteenth in Austin: Parade and fireworks information, other community events, city closures

The holiday commemorates the day Black enslaved residents of Texas were told they were free in Galveston in 1865.

The mid-June East Sixth Street shooting has prompted responses from city police, EMS and government officials. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Sixth Street fatal shooting leads to renewed discussions of public safety staffing, gun violence prevention in Austin

Increased police staffing, improved EMS availability, and state or federal action on gun violence prevention are among the proposals floated in the wake of the weekend shooting.

Plans to move forward with the design of a new Travis County women's jail have been postponed indefinitely. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Travis County pauses plans to build new women's jail

Commissioners voted unanimously to postpone any design or construction of new jail facilities for at least a year while staff re-evaluate the Travis County correctional system's needs.

Austin FC fans
Austin FC supporters groups release parade route ahead of inaugural home game

Motorists should look for pedestrians walking around near the site of Q2 Stadium ahead of Austin FC's June 19 inaugural home game.

Joseph Chacon, interim chief of the Austin Police Department, gives an update on Austin's recent move into the second phase of Proposition B camping ban enforcement June 15 alongside Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Grey and City Manager Spencer Cronk. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Proposition B enforcement shifts from education to warnings

Austin officials on June 15 provided an update on enforcement and outreach work by city staff and the Austin Police Department with the second phase of Proposition B camping ban enforcement now underway.

Candlewood Suites Northwest Austin
Williamson County declines lawsuit against Austin over Candlewood Suites saga—for now

Williamson County did not hold a vote to file a lawsuit against the city of Austin over the contentious Candlewood Suites property in Northwest Austin.

Photo of Chez Nous in black and white
Chez Nous, downtown Austin's longstanding French bistro, permanently closes

The restaurant opened in 1982 after its owners moved to Texas from Paris.