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AM Update: Travis County Tax Exemptions, Texas Tops for Business, Border Patrol Relocates Agents

KUT News
A historic property on San Gabriel Street in Austin.

Tax Cap Added for Historic Homes; Exemption Increased for Elderly, Disabled

Travis County Commissioners voted to add a cap on historical tax exemptions. The new policy matches the City of Austin’s cap of $2,500 a year.

Historic home owners argued that a higher exemption is necessary for them to maintain the facades of their homes. County Judge Sam Biscoe says the county will continue to look at the impact of the historical tax exemptions.

Commissioners also voted to increase the tax exemption for Travis County homeowners who are 65 and older and for those with disabilities. The amount of value that had been taken off a home for taxing purposes had been $65,000 a year. They raised it to $70,000 annually.

The changes will go into effect for the 2012 tax year.

Texas Ranks as Best State for Business

Texas finished number one overall in the sixth annual CNBC study which scores states on measures of competitiveness. The analysis is based on metrics developed with the help of the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness.

Texas ranked number two last year, but has achieved the top ranking three times since CNBC began doing the studies in 2007.

The state ranked highest in the categories of infrastructure and transportation, technology and innovation, and cost of living.  The state ranked much lower in the categories of quality of life, cost of doing business, and education, but still emerged with the best overall score.

The study aims to rank states based on the criteria they use to sell themselves.

Utah, Virginia, North Carolina and North Dakota are also in the top five. Rhode Island is ranked last.

Six Border Patrol Stations to Close in Texas

The U.S. Border Patrol is shutting down nine stations, six in Texas, as part of a nationwide effort to relocate resources closer to the border. Stations are being closed in Abilene, San Angelo, Dallas, San Antonio, Lubbock, and Amarillo. The Border Patrol plans to relocate 41 agents who work at those satellite stations to positions closer to the border.

Border Patrol press officer Bill Brooks told Texas Public Radio these stations see little action. The deactivations will happen in the next six months.

“In order to accomplish our mission more efficiently and use our personnel more effectively, Customs and Border Protection has increasingly concentrated its resources in the immediate border areas,” spokesperson Bill Brooks said.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), also a branch of Homeland Security, will take over the job of immigration law enforcement in those cities.

Stations will also be closed in Billings, Mont., Twin Falls, Idaho, and Riverside, Calif.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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