The increase would pay mainly for a new county criminal court, increased fuel costs, a 3 percent pay raise for most county employees and 31 corrections officers to staff a new detention building at the Del Valle Correctional Complex.Anti-tax activists in Texas for years have focused their ire on the "Robin Hood" school finance scheme and rising property taxes at public schools. But as far as I can tell, jails and other criminal justice-related expenses are driving local tax hikes in most Texas counties which have announced them.
At a time when 37% of arrests by Austin PD are optional (under state law, officers could use their discretion to write tickets for most of these offenders if top brass and local DAs would approve it), raising taxes to pay for staffing an overcrowded jail strikes me as a particularly bitter pill to swallow.
Where are all the anti-tax agitators when you need them? In my hometown of Tyler, the no-new-taxes crowd gets the connection, but clearly Austin, Lubbock and other jurisdictions remain willing to jack up property taxes ad infinitum to pay for jail costs, even when they could pursue other options.