Foundation calls out Austin for public spending to hire artists


James Quintero points to a new City of Austin program that calls for embedding an artist in various departments.   File image

The Texas Public Policy Foundation Institute is taking aim at the City of Austin’s new $15,000 government program to employ artists in various city departments, saying it points to the reason for Texas tax property burdens.

In a recent blog for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the foundation’s Center For Local Governance Director James Quintero said all Texans can agree their tax burden is too high.

“Texas’ property tax burden is enormous,” Quintero wrote. “In 2015, more than 4,100 local taxing entities soaked taxpayers for $52.2 billion in property taxes. That’s enough to ding every man, woman and child in Texas for $1,900 or cost a family of four about $8,000.”

Quintero points to a new City of Austin program that calls for embedding “an artist in various city departments, aiming to bring a creative eye to city problems.”

“This new pilot program is expected to cost taxpayers about $15,000 to start and could be expanded if city council deems it a success,” Quintero wrote. “Funding for the program will be pulled from the city’s general fund. This small-but-telling example of government waste is indicative of a much bigger problem locally — an absence of priorities. And that problem is only being enabled by a broken property tax system that offers no real protection for homeowners and businesses.”         

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