Campaign Context: A closer look at Travis County's bond proposal

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As campaign season nears, politicians are turning up the volume on campaign rhetoric. To cut through the noise, we’re launching Campaign Context, a weekly series providing clarity on the messages you’re hearing from candidates on the campaign trail. We’re digging past the politics and into the facts to provide you with the transparent, spin-free information you need to make informed decisions this election season.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — KXAN is taking a closer look at the upcoming Travis County bond election on November 7 including what it could mean for property tax bills and how much the bond could really total when one accounts for the added interest on the bond money.

The county has split the bond into two propositions, A and B.

The $233 million Prop. A would pay for things like county roads, bike paths and sidewalks. Prop. B — at $276 million — would cover parkland acquisition and other amenities.

According to documents published on the Travis County website, county officials are expecting to pay off the bonds by the year 2044 at an estimated interest rate of 4.50 percent.

By the county’s own calculations, that would mean about $125 million in interest on top of the $233 million bond principal for Prop. A, totaling roughly $358 million to be paid off over the next 21 years.

Prop. B would see an extra $149 million in interest added to the $276 million principal for a total of about $425 million.

The documents state passage of both propositions would impact property tax bills across the county. This chart shows a $379,200 property, the median price in Travis County, would see an annual tax bill impact of $46.

The county has maintained the tax impact is just an estimate and could go down slightly year-to-year for taxpayers as the bond is paid down.

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