Travis County voters passed Central Health Proposition 1 in Travis County Tuesday, which asks for a property tax hike to increase health services in Central Texas, and eventually, a medical school in Austin.
Under Prop 1, taxpayers will pay an additional 5 cents per $100 valuation on their property, or an extra $100 on a $200,000 home. That will make the total tax bill 12.9 cents total, or $258 on that same home.*
UT will fund the actual school, while the $53 million per year coming from taxpayers would fund training for medical students in our community's hospitals. The federal government will contribute more than double that figure, making the total worth more than $130 million.
The project has been spearheaded by Sen. Kirk Watson, who says it will bring 15,000 new jobs to the area and $2 billion annually in economic activity.
“It’s a big thing for a city,” Sen. Watson said. “It will mean better health care for you, your family and your friends. It will mean we are taking better care of our uninsured population and it will save taxpayer money because people won’t be taking costly visits to the emergency rooms.”
The Travis County Taxpayers Union filed a lawsuit against the proposition, claiming health care districts can only provide services for "needy and indigent people,” and cannot tax citizens to provide services for the county's entire population.
Zimmerman says Central Health's main duty is to provide care for needy patients, not help fund a medical school, something Proposition 1’s supporters have been fighting hard for years to do.
An early version of this story incorrectly stated that taxpayers will pay "an additional 13 cents per $100 valuation on their property." It is actually 5 cents and will push the total tax bill to 12.9 cents (or about 13 cents.)