It’s easy to skip too quickly through the numerous bond propositions that follow the candidates on the November ballot. I think it is worth pointing out how important Proposition 15 is for our city, and I hope you’ll follow me here as I attempt to explain why you should join me in supporting this bond for affordable housing.
Austin is a growing and dynamic city with a good quality of life, and that is what makes us grow. In addition to our obligation to keep up with infrastructure and invest in our community, we would also be smart to prepare for the city we are becoming, before it overwhelms us. In my view, keeping housing affordable for all Austinites is as important to Austin’s future as roads, parks, services, conservation and the arts.
If approved, this proposition would allow the City to continue to fund the development of affordable rental and ownership housing, preserve existing affordable housing stock and create transitional and permanent supportive housing for the homeless. The proposition would allow the City to provide funding for construction, renovation and repair of affordable housing. No increase in this year’s property tax rate is anticipated as a result of passage of this proposition.
In the simplest terms, Proposition 15 would mostly help low- to-moderate income Austinites, from school, hospital, and hospitality workers to retail employees to those who cook inside our most famous kitchens. The backbone of our community depends upon affordable housing. Proposition 15 would expand housing options, giving folks from all walks of life the chance to continue to call Austin home.
Since being elected to the Texas Legislature in 2003, I have made affordable housing one of my top priorities. Rising property taxes had either forced or enticed many families in East Austin and elsewhere in the city to leave the stability of our traditional neighborhoods and disperse in such a way that community was lost. In 2005, I passed the Homestead Preservation Act to preserve affordable housing in East Austin. This law has proven to be a helpful tool for East Austin residents, and now Proposition 15 would expand upon that progress, opening more opportunities to preserve community all across town.
It is important that we realize affordable housing as a key issue for the future of Austin, and that we invest in that future now. I urge you to vote FOR Proposition 15 this November.
Texas House Representative, District 51