Property Tax Rate Rollback Proposal Creates Controversy

By Bill O’Neil

The conversation among the San Antonio City Council over the budget took an at times testy turn Thursday–after Councilman Greg Brockhouse proposed rolling back the property tax rate by a half-cent in the year ahead.

“I would not that Councilman (Clayton) Perry and I have been forwarding property tax relief for a month… we’ve been asking for it” Brockhouse told his colleagues after making the proposal.

There was sympathy from some–but the proposal was largely panned by the Council.

“I think it was not well thought out” Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales said, adding “I think a tax relief recommendation at this point is a very lazy effort.”

Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw also didn’t like the timing.

“This is not just I’m anti-tax or I’m pro-tax… it’s about having a well thought out plan–strategic plan–comprehensive plan that’s going to benefit the citizens of San Antonio” Shaw said.

Others were not convinced a property tax rate rollback is the right solution.

“You know that we’re the only state in the Untied States that sends more money up to the capitol than we get back from our capitol” Councilman Manny Pelaez said.

In the end, the amendment was easily defeated–with only Perry supporting Brockhouse–though Brockhouse is happy the discussion–and vote–is on record.

“At this point in time that’s where we stand–but it may be something different in the future if we can find common ground and work towards that… and I look forward to that opportunity” Brockhouse said.

Meanwhile, Perry promised to continue to look for and work toward a solution in the year ahead.

“Whether it’s the tax rate or a homestead exemption” Perry told his colleagues.

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