Homeowners say they are being overtaxed

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A fair assessment on property values directly impacts how much homeowners pay in mortgage or rent every month. But one local group says the tax system is broken and is thereby forcing residential owners to make up for lost revenue.

Mary Fero has lived in the Allandale neighborhood for nearly three decades. She says the amount she pays in property taxes may force her to leave town.

“I am now paying as much in property taxes as I used to pay for my entire mortgage payment when I first bought the house in 1988,” Fero said.

Like many Austin homeowners, the value of Fero’s house has gone up and so too have her property taxes.

“It’s really overwhelming to try and budget that for people with average income,” she added.

Brigid Shea says one reason the taxes for residential homeowners are so high is because of the tax breaks commercial property owners receive.

“I lost track of the number of people who’ve told me ‘we have to sell, we have to move…we can’t afford to live in our house anymore because our appraisals have gone up so much,'” Shea said.

Shea claims if commercial property owners paid their fair share property taxes on residential homeowners wouldn’t be nearly as high.

“It’s not fair because commercial properties can legally pay less than sales price,” she said. “Less than market value and that’s pushing an unfair burden on the homeowners to make up for the lost revenue.”

There will be further discussion about commercial taxes this Monday at a special meeting of the Travis County commissioners court.

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