CM Zimmerman’s Shortsighted and Misguided Chapter 380 Idea

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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Gallo’s Risky Tax Freeze Resolution Likely to Pass This Thursday

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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Notes/Errors/Corrections – Austin City Council Homestead Exemption Work Session video

UPDATE 5/21/2015: So far, the city has corrected 1 of the items that I have listed below (Item 1). They have come close to correcting a second item (Item 3). I am working on a new way to prove to them that Item 5 exists & is a big deal, without needing to refer to internals of the TCAD database. UPDATE 5/21/2015: Actually, Item 3 is fully & accurately corrected in their revised slides. So, Item 1 and Item 3 are fixed. UPDATE 6/9/2015: I don’t have an updated homestead presentation from the city. However, the city released a fiscal note before the 6% homestead exemption vote. The fiscal note lists the cost to city revenue of a 6% homestead exemption, at the .4824 tax rate, at $7.6 million. This is up from their previous estimate of $5.2 million on slide 18 of the presentation.  That’s great — much closer to what I get in my calculations! This stuff is complicated and quite difficult to write about. I’ve been trying to keep these “UPDATE” sections short, but this one is going to have to be involved, because I need to document this update, in case I need to reference it in the future … Last week, I spent a couple of hours trying to somehow get anywhere near the $5.2 million cost that the city put on slide 18, but could never come close anywhere near it. Thus, I’m not surprised to see the $5.2m number revised (note that the lower half of slide 18 had already been corrected, after I sent the city an explanation of Item 3). Whenever I calculate the cost of a...

Dez Bryant Did Not Need to Make A Football Move For It To Be A Catch

NFL VP of Officiating, Dean Blandino, gave a more thorough video explanation of why he and the officiating crew think Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant did not complete a catch against Green Bay in yesterday’s playoff game. You should watch Blandino’s video at this link if you haven’t seen it already. In short, Blandino is saying Bryant needed to make a move common to the game (AKA a “football move”) in order to not be subject to the “going to the ground” provision and that Bryant’s lunge was not sufficient to qualify as a “football move”. Now that you’ve watched that, check out Dean Blandino’s NFL Total Access appearance from 2013 at this link and skip to about 2 minutes in and watch the rest (you’ll have to wait for a commercial at the beginning, but it’s worth it). Pay particular attention to the part where Blandino details the 3 components that must happen in sequence in order for there to be a catch. You will note that step 3 only requires a player to have control of the ball for an amount of time that it would take to make a move common to the game (AKA a “football move”). At this point, you might be a little confused – and rightly so. In 2013, Blandino is saying that a catch happens when you accomplish 3 things – control of the ball, both feet down, and then control of the ball for a long enough period of time that you could make a “football move”. Now, in 2015, Blandino is saying that Bryant must actually perform a “football move”, not just have control of the ball for...

Troxclair, Pressley, Zimmerman and the Tea Party backed CTRN Pledge Pt 1

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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