Austin city officials are concerned about legislation that they claim could reduce the city’s budget and lead to higher property taxes, but the bill’s Republican author from Georgetown claims that’s not his intention.
In some cases, Senate Bill 1110 would forbid cities from receiving money from electric utilities they own or manage.
The bill was introduced by state senator Charles Schwertner in response to widespread power outages that occurred in Austin last month and major ratepayers’ complaints that their payments for their electricity were funding vital city services.
According to Ed Van Eenoo, chief financial officer of the city of Austin, as much as 9% of Austin Energy’s revenue is transferred into the city’s coffers.
According to the city of Austin, that comes to about $115 million in fiscal year 2023.
Between the lines: Austin officials warned in legislative testimony last week that preventing the transfer of money from the utility could result in the increase of property taxes, a third rail for Republican leaders. This may have been a cunning political move.