Updated on Sept 10th 2015 to add a link to a short city presentation about Chapter 380 agreements.
CM Zimmerman’s latest machinations are an attack on Austin’s eight existing Chapter 380 agreements with companies Austin recruited to the area. His plan is for Austin to reduce its agreed payments to those eight companies by 50% for one year. The “savings” would be given back to property owners, including businesses, via a lower tax rate for one year only. The typical homeowner wouldn’t see much in savings — just a few bucks spread out over the course of a year.
Economic development can be an easy thing to attack when times are good. Chapter 380 economic development agreements, fee waivers, and so forth look like corporate welfare & wasteful spending. While reducing spending and the associated taxes is a laudable goal, defaulting on our Chapter 380 economic development agreements with 8 companies is extremely shortsighted and misguided.
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CM Sheri Gallo has proposed — and likely has the votes to pass, perhaps this week — a property tax freeze for Austin homeowners aged 65 and older. The freeze includes disabled homeowners, regardless of age. Though the freeze sounds like a great way for those homeowners to avoid property tax increases, it is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
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In September 2014, a group called Citizens for Taxpayer Relief NOW (CTRN) asked Austin City Council candidates to sign a “candidate pledge”. The pledge consists of three items, or requirements, that CTRN believes will lead to greater accountability and fiscal responsibility. Ostensibly, a candidate signing the pledge is agreeing to advocate, implement, and/or vote for the requirements in the pledge, should that candidate be elected
Another requirement would result in across-the-board cuts to the City of Austin budget (salaries, programs, etc) of about 3% a year.
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This is a copy of an email that I sent to the mayor and council and some in the media on Monday, Nov 17, 2014 at about 1pm. I am attempting to get them to follow the law in awarding the Fair Campaign fund, rather than ignoring one part of it. Hanging in the balance is about $55,000 of campaign funding — it’s just a question of who’s going to get it …[click post title to read more]
A few minutes ago I spoke with Austin election clerk Ann Franklin and she answered a couple of questions that we have had since Nov 4th .. [Click the post title to read the rest]
.. Austin’s Fair Campaign Chapter definitive info, weird complaints, questions about the interpretation of the law or what the Clerk may or may not be doing, smackdowns .. [Click the post title to read the rest]
.. I would recommend that they get proactive – get on the phone and make sure that you are going to be awarded the money from the Fair Campaign Fund; make sure that the personal funds checkbox doesn’t cause an issue .. [Click the post title to read the rest]
.. Of the campaigns competing in those districts, only Leslie Pool’s campaign chose to follow Austin’s little understood Fair Campaign Chapter election rules and also filed the paperwork within the required time limits. Pool, should she choose, may request and will receive all of the money in the fund to use in her runoff race .. [Click the post title to read the rest]
Since I’ve done a couple of pretty serious posts already, I thought I’d give everyone a break and end the week on a lighter note by taking a quick peek at a few candidate websites and quotes and see what they say about traffic light synchronization in Austin .. [Click the post title to read the rest]
Though candidate campaign finance reports (CFRs) are available online, they are not easy to work with. Candidates bring printed copies to the Austin City Clerk who scans the printouts and puts the resulting PDF files online for the public to view. … Now, new CSV files containing 2014 contribution data from the July 15th, 30 day, and 8 day, reports are available .. [Click the post title to read the rest]
On paper, Katrina Daniel appears to be a qualified candidate, running a competitive, no-nonsense campaign for Austin City Council, District 4. Daniel’s campaign finance paperwork, however, reveals a campaign that has raised most of its contributions from lobbyists – [Click the post title to read the rest]