Checking Leffingwell’s Tax-Rate Assertion
Austin’s mayor, Lee Leffingwell, is saying on the campaign trail that the city has the lowest tax rate of the five biggest Texas cities. KUT News’ Emily Donahue checked the facts with Gardner Selby of the Austin American-Statesman’s PolitiFact Texas who advised that tax rates alone do not illuminate how much money those rates are costing individual taxpayers, in this instance property owners.
In 2011, Austin had the highest median sale price of a home and the highest average appraised value. Austin’s tax bill, driven by these valuations, was second-highest or fourth-highest, depending on which figures you use for home values.
That is, higher values lead us to higher taxes. So you calculated using the 2011 median sales price and the 2011 city tax rate, Dallas had the highest bill, Austin’s was next. Using the same rates and average appraised values, Dallas was first again, and Austin came in second.
Politifact’s chart is reproduced below.
|Median home sale price, 2011||2011 city tax bill using median sale price||Average appraised home value, 2011||2011 city tax bill using average appraised value|
|1. Austin, $190,900||1. Dallas, $1,262||1. Austin, $254,328||1. Dallas, $1,441|
|2. Dallas, $158,400||2. Houston, $982||2. Dallas, $180,847||2. Austin, $1,224|
|3. Houston, $153,700||3. Fort Worth, $946||3. Houston, $165,535||3. Houston, $1,057|
|4. San Antonio, $151,300||4. Austin, $918||4. San Antonio, $128,151||4. Fort Worth, $968|
|5. Fort Worth, $110,600||5. San Antonio, $856||5. Fort Worth, $113,247||5. San Antonio, $725|