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We commend the Mayor and City Council for fully funding all of Austin Interfaith’s priorities in the just-approved FY-2019 city budget. This includes full funding for AISD Parent Support Specialists, AISD Prime Time After School programs, an increase in the City of Austin Living Wage to $15/hr., and an increase in funding for long term job training for programs such as Capital IDEA, for a combined budgetary impact of over $5 million.
We commend the collaboration of Councilmembers Alison Alter and Greg Casar for their combined amendment to restore full funding to these education and workforce development programs, which also provided funding for programs addressing homelessness and other social services. Mayor Adler and Councilmembers Garza, Kitchen, Poole, and Tovo also supported this measure. Austin Interfaith also commends Mayor Adler for his earlier motion to free up additional budgetary money by setting the tax rate at an appropriate level, making good on a promise he and council members made to Austin Interfaith and the community earlier in the year to hold crucial human development programs harmless from the budgetary impact of increasing the homestead exemption.
We do believe the city needs to evaluate its budget process and will work with them to make sure these essential investments in human and economic development are not left to last minute budget decisions. But we commend the Mayor, Council, their staffs, and the City Manager and his staff for their accessibility and collaboration in this budget process, as well as the hundreds of volunteer hours put in by Austin Interfaith leaders from across the city in advocating for these community priorities. This was the democratic process in action.