(Community Matters) What’s Prop 2? It’s commonly known as the Stop Domain Subsidies referendum. Bottom line, it’s about Austin keeping its word and honoring a signed agreement. I know it sounds incredible, but the proposition would force Austin to renege on a signed, enforceable agreement – without just cause. You can imagine the costs this will exact on Austin’s reputation and in our future economic development.
The voter referendum includes two parts. The first would prevent tax abatements on future retail projects. These are already prohibited by current council resolution. So, it’s really about Austin keeping it’s word.
Lots of noise aside, the Stop Domain Subsidies campaign is misleading. I have personally walked through every one of the Prop 2 proponent’s points with the original developers and spoken with City representatives. The developers and owners have met the contract’s conditions. The founder of the Stop Domain Subsidies Campaign knowingly lies about the terms and results. (I know this is strong language but I’m sick and tired of this unaccountable, political BS – ends evidently justifying the means).
The City of Austin is benefiting from higher than projected sales on the project. The abatements, which come from future tax sales proceeds, are capped and Austin is reaping a greater than forecasted return on this investment. Former Mayor Pro Tem Betty Dunkerley and ABC Pest Control owner Bobby Jenkins are chairing the Keep Austin’s Word Campaign. They too have confirmed the honesty & compliance of the contract and are similarly concerned about Austin keeping its word.
The tax abatement agreement didn’t subsidize national retailers; it financed infrastructure allowing the developer to build a dense, mixed use project. In 2003 when this was approved, Austin was in a significant real estate recession. Developers couldn’t finance mixed use projects. Central Texans were expressing their preference for higher density, mixed use. This is why the City of Austin agreed to invest in the project, to help the developer finance significantly higher infrastructure costs. We would have otherwise had a traditional, retail project – lots of black top parking and separate residential, retail & office buildings.
I’m happy to answer any questions or to put you in touch directly with those who have even better information. Over the last 6 weeks, I have done the homework informing myself and confirming contract terms and results. Here’s a link to Betty Dunkerley’s and Bobby Jenkins’ announcement of the campaign to oppose Prop 2 http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/09/11/0911urban.html
This is a very serious issue that will impact Austin’s reputation for years to come. Please sign on in support of Austin keeping its word and against Proposition 2 by emailing Lynda Rife firstname.lastname@example.org and allowing her to add your name as a Keep Austin’s Word supporter. Thanks so much for considering.