Tracking the promises of Steve Adler

Browse the Adler-O-Meter:


During his campaign for Austin mayor, Steve Adler called for change and offered specifics: A 20 percent homestead exemption; a pre-kindergarten initiative; incentives for the creation of middle-class jobs; even free bus service for seniors and free concerts for everyone.

The Austin American-Statesman and PolitiFact Texas mined Adler's campaign website, listened to mayoral forums and re-read newspaper articles to compile a trove of key promises Adler made on the campaign trail. Through the Adler-O-Meter, we’ll be watching through his four-year term to see which promises he’s kept or broken.

See any promises we missed? Send an email to Elizabeth Findell at [email protected] or Philip Jankowski at [email protected]. Or maybe you’ve heard something we should check; write us here.

On the meter, we rate the status of a promise as Not Yet Rated, In the Works or Stalled. Once we find action is completed, we rate the vows either Promise Kept, Compromise or Promise Broken. (See our About the Adler-O-Meter page for more details.)

The report card above provides an up-to-the-minute tally of all the promises.

Promises we’ve rated recently

Enact a 20 percent homestead exemption

The Promise:

Wants to "provide a 20 percent across-the-board tax exemption for homesteads."

Update: Austin's Steve Adler loses momentum on promise to reach 20 percent homestead exemption

Rework incentives so they reward creating middle class jobs

The Promise:

"Reform the policies for granting incentive subsidies to reward creation of middle class jobs, as well as training local residents for those jobs." Mayor Steve Adler also wants to allow small businesses to participate in order to incentivize growth of small businesses.

Update: Steve Adler promise to encourage middle-class jobs no longer stalled

Make changes at city utilities to promote affordability

The Promise:

"Require Austin Energy and the Austin Water Utility to initiate long-term changes in their business models that will better accommodate affordability."

Update: Adler vow to reshape utilities is half-launched

Limit city staff vacancies

The Promise:

City of Austin staff "vacancies that are funded in the budget should be limited to no more than five percent of staffing. Funding for these vacancies should be held in a centralized provisional account."

Update: Steve Adler goal of whittling city vacancies unfulfilled

Look for surplus properties to sell

The Promise:

"Conduct a review of all city holdings to see if any could or should be sold. Consider using the potential revenue to pay other one-time expenses that might be incurred."

Update: Steve Adler vow to identify city properties to sell 'In the Works'

Reinstate free Capital Metro bus fares for seniors and the disabled

The Promise:

"I think this is something we can afford to do for some of the most challenged of our fellow Austinites. The government can be lean without being mean."

Update: Adler promise of free bus fares for elderly in idle

Include Asian languages in city communications

The Promise:

"I believe we should expand communications support for as many Asian languages as possible, particularly languages widely used in Austin such as Mandarin, Korean, Hindi, Vietnamese and Bangla."

Update: Adler slow to move on vow to expand Asian languages in city communications

Raise awareness of Austin's music scene with more free concerts

The Promise:

"There must be free, large- and small-scale, high-quality, family-friendly concerts and events that make sure great music of varying types and cultures is accessible to all."

Update: Austin mayor acknowledges no headway on free concerts promise

Make city permitting easier

The Promise:

"Improve the development review and approval process by providing computerization...improved training and management, creation of Expedited Review Teams and a strong emphasis on streamlined and consolidated reviews to improve customer service."

Update: Adler, council steer city closer to improved city permitting

Ensure mayor's staff and appointments reflect the city's demographics

The Promise:

"Appointments to our boards and commissions, and staffing in the mayor’s office, must reflect the diverse makeup of our city."

Update: Mayor's appointments, staff largely reflect Austin's demographics

Meet more frequently

The Promise:

The Austin City Council "needs to meet more often and hold additional work sessions if necessary to allow the new council greater public discussion of issues."

Update: Adler-led council met twice as much in 2015 as previous council did in '14

Give each council member a day for Austin City Council to visit their district

The Promise:

“Every new council member should lead the entire council for a day in their district, allowing from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. They decide where we go, what we see, and who we talk with in their district."

Update: Adler plan to meet in each council district didn't progress

Launch a pre-kindergarten initiative

The Promise:

"As mayor, I will launch a pre-kindergarten initiative aimed at helping to institutionalize pre-K for three- and four-year-olds in our city as one of the Mayor's Education Outreach Coordinator's highest-priority projects."

Update: Under Adler, pre-K initiative in the works

Create an education outreach coordinator

The Promise:

"I will create the position of Education Outreach Coordinator in the Mayor's Office. This coordinator will facilitate community focus on critical shared policies as well as programs such as those described below."

Update: Adler enlists education outreach coordinator for city

Change appraisal process

The Promise:

"I will also work with other local taxing authorities in the area to demand that all property is assessed fairly and at 100 percent of full market value as prescribed by state law. I will also stand prepared to initiate legal action, if necessary, to ensure this statutory requirement is met in Austin."

Update: Adler fulfills promise to stoke fair appraisals of all properties