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Sign the Petition/Voter Pledge – No Abusive Formula 1 Subsidies!

School $ vs Formula 1 $ . There's no money for Austin schools, yet Formula 1 is after your tax dollars. Tell Randi Shade NO! Vote for Kathie Tovo.Sign the Petition/Voter Pledge to Abusive F1 Subsidies!

The Austin City Council vote on the F1 subsidy was postponed to next Wednesday! Even if the Austin City Council manages to keep city money out of the deal (we doubt it), their vote will still trigger STATE tax dollars — at least $250 million.  Please call the Council at 974-2000 on Monday or Tuesday and simply ask them to vote NO on F1.  Or you can email them all here:  And, don’t forget to ask friends and family to do the same.  Thank you Austin!

[emailpetition id=”1″]

20 Responses to Sign the Petition/Voter Pledge – No Abusive Formula 1 Subsidies!

  1. Dear Council;
    On the very day that our national Strategic Petroleum Reserve is being tapped for thirty million barrels, the City of Austin stopped at the edge of the abyss, rushing through a project that is a flagrant waste of that same vital resource. A plethora of nonsense has been foisted on the public to tone down the underlying stench of the core thesis. Jobs, minority hiring, hotel revenue, bikes, showers, trains really don’t obscure the flawed premise. You can attempt to put lipstick on a pig but underneath it’s still a swine. Six people acted with a modicum of integrity yesterday. I expect no less everyday.

    Do you really enjoy being threatened and bullied by professional lobbyists ? Isn’t that a big enough clue that at the very least this whole F1 project needs to be slowed down and given greater scrutiny? You were told yesterday that 7 million articles have been written on this subject, really? A very modest and prudent request for the gentleman who made this incredible statement , would be to produce just 1% of those articles which would be 7000, prior to any further action. If you are being fed whoppers on the small matters how can you give any credence to any other prior statements made on this issue. I expect you to contact him and demand these articles.

    Yesterday’s article in AutoWeek should be all you need.

    Do you remember the Intel building??? This is 300X that little venture. There is also the lawsuit.

    Maybe the council can have a charette to learn how to act responsibly when being threatened by financial thugs.

    You have the power stop this debacle, use it. Doling out Millions to a Billionaire really doesn’t survive the smell test. I sent this to 300+ people. We won’t forget how you deal with this.


    Jeff Rowe    Austin, Texas

  2. Certainly $250M+ in tax dollars for F1-racing is an asinine use of scarce public funds!
    It is disturbing to learn that a yes vote by the Austin City Council on the F1 subsidy will trigger STATE tax dollars — at least $250 million! And this is true even if the Austin City Council manages to keep city money out of the deal!

    Please VETO the entire subsidy by refusing to sign on to this outrageous deal!

    There’s only one way to stop the billionaires who are pouring money into TV ads and F1 hype.

    Please know that your jobs as City Council people are on the line. Four of you are up for reelection next May — Leffingwell, Cole, Martinez and Spelman!

    Stop the Abusive F1 Subsidies!

  3. 6-1 to postpone, three of the six (incl Shade) effectively having walked on the Mayor, was pretty strong medicine yesterday. Kathie Tovo needn’t HAVE to be the tie-breaker to nix this thing on her very first vote at her very first meeting. I hope that’s what Cole, Spelman, Morrison, and Riley were telepathing.

    Brian Rodgers had a good point today in AAS’s blog – essentially that F1’s shell corporation’s promise to hold Austin taxpayers harmless for the $4 Mil/year is worth about as much as a drug kingpin’s unsecured PR bond. That’s why the drug defendant has to post $ Millions in cash to get out of jail pending trial. It wouldn’t be asking too much for Austin to say to Hellmund, McCombs, Suttle, et al., “Show us the $$$.” A cash bond for the first 5 years would be reasonable. The METF State law itself has been corrupted and perverted by this waltz down the garden path and probably ought to be repealed or seriously tightened up. It’s a lucky break for the airhead Comptroller and Houston, DFW, and San Antonio (which are blameless) that there isn’t time left to re-open the METF while the Legislature’s in special session. Steve Ogden could have zeroed out METF in a single vote last month. It was only in deference to the other metros’ Senators that he didn’t.

  4. Our blog comments function is temporarily malfunctioning, so I’m posting this for Peter Denby. Thanks Peter!

    Dear Taxpayers:

    How can state or city officials vote to allocate ANY taxpayer funds to finance a billionaire’s racing business? If this is such a great idea, why doesn’t the Formula 1 organizer simply sell stock to willing risk takers on Wall Street? Why does Formula 1 Racing, or any for profit venture need to be subsidized by taxpayer funds? The idea is perverse and often indefensible in all, but the most extreme circumstances. There are few exceptions, but this isn’t one.

    Elected representatives have a duty, or fiduciary responsibility to invest taxpayer funds prudently. Building schools, hiring teachers, repairing existing roadways and paving new highways are examples of where tax dollars should be invested. As a result of population growth, both the State of Texas’ and Austin’s budgets are stretched so thin, that we are no longer financially able to fund these basic needs. Consequently, road repairs are delayed, pot holes get deeper, toll roads get built and teachers are laid off statewide while our elected officials vote to allocate as much as $250 million dollars of our tax money to finance Formula -1 racing. Where is the voter outrage? I don’t buy their economic impact studies either. If it’s such a good idea let them sell the deal to Goldman Sachs!

    In addition, the noise and air pollution generated by Formula 1 racing is considerable and has not been adequately addressed. Is it fair that we impose a noise ordinance on local music events, but not one on auto racing? What about ozone action days? I cherish breathing clean air, how will Formula 1 racing impact our air quality?

    Finally, in a spate of incomprehensible wisdom, one Austin City Council member has suggested paving bike lanes to the track and installing showers at the proposed venue so bikers can shower before and after races. This is a pitiful attempt to brand this a “green project”. Call me a skeptic, but I contend many athletic bikers have no interest in auto racing and while some may use the proposed bike lanes their ultimate destination will never be the F-1 race track. Why not let bikers argue where they want bike lanes, why let Austin City Council members hijack their interests for their political benefit and economic benefit of F-1 racing? The two groups share distinct and entirely different demographics. In conclusion, the idea of funding F-1 Racing with taxpayer funds at either the state, or city level makes me seriously question whether a majority of elected officials have taxpayer’s best interests either in mind, or heart. Please write the Austin City Council and the Mayor and tell them to vote NO to any F-1 deal.


    Peter Denby

  5. Please note that the state legislature cut 911 services by $36MM. That’s just a little more than the first payment the Comptroller wants to give Formula 1 billionaires. This figure can be confirmed by the Legislative Budget Board and has been little publicized. What sick priorities!

  6. This NYTimes article raises doubts about the future of the Formula 1 business. It’s right for the Austin businesses investing in Formula 1 to take whatever risks they want with their money. It’s wrong for our pols to take the same risk with our money.

    Maneuvering to Control Future of Formula One
    Eric Pfanner and Brad Spurgeon | NYTimes | June 26, 2011

  7. As a proud Austinite and Austin Educator, I am simply appalled that in the midst of budgeting crises abound-particularly for education-that our city and state would dare support this kind of rebate–even if money could be made. It is apparent that there will be little to no profit for Austin. The economic impact study is skewed and doesn’t account for simple things that those of us will STAY HOME this weekend (like I do for ACL and SXSW). The projections do not account for other visitors either. These are simple things that are being glazed over. If F1 is so sound financially, ask yourself why they need rebates or funding at all!

  8. The whole idea of F1 racing in austin turns my stomach. All that good rich farmland paved over for a bunch of rich guys with a fetish for pollution and speed – not to mention the misplacement of funds that are DESPERATELY needed for infrastructure all around the State. This is the most short-sighted thing the city of austin will have ever done. Racing’s future depends on a dying oil industry in a time when NONE but the very rich can benefit. Idiotic beyond belief.

  9. Austin is definitely on the WRONG TRACK if the City Council commits us to a multi-year $25MILLION tax drain to fund and incent F1. We simply CANNOT afford this type of wasteful spending! We are facing education funding shortfalls of what — $40Million — for JUST this coming year!?
    What lessons are we teaching our children and our community if we use our hard earned tax dollars to fund a project such as this that is privately owned and gets BILLIONS in SPONSORSHIPS and ADVERTISING?? I mean come on … they actually even had the NERVE to ask the State of Texas to pay for the ROAD that leads to their facility. (get a clue F1!)
    If this fund/tax incentive is for events, then we should be supporting our LOCALLY-PRODUCED events that actually bring business INTO Austin such as ACL and SXSW — which also provides business to our local artists (musicians, film makers, etc) as well as FOOD, BEVERAGE and Hotels (IN AUSTIN!) F1 (and the $25Million of our Money they will get each year) will serve to line the pockets of the multi-national businesses involved in this endeavor and the ultra-rich racing team owners. The MILLIONS they have spent on their fancy ads on TV do not fool me. This will NOT be a plus for Austin. And actually … it won’t even be a plus for Elroy where the track is going to be located — 20 MILES outside of Austin.
    City Council: Get your priorities straight! Saying NO will not be a black-eye on Austin — Don’t feel pressured by a slick-talking consortium who is trying to ram-rod approval and funding through the process. It is NOT OUR PROBLEM that F1 has already started construction in their accelerated timetable to try to meet THEIR commitments.

  10. Just say no, Council members. Austin should not put its stamp of approval on this Susan Combs/Rick Perry welfare for the rich project, while funding for public services–both local and statewide–is drying up and disappearing. Call their bluff. Let some other sucker municipality put its name on the METF disbursement or better yet, let the private, for-profit speculators fund their own project–I thought that’s what the “free enterprise” system was all about.
    Thank you for your forsight and fortitude.

  11. For Formula 1 Racing in Austin

    AGAINST using ANY city, county or state tax funding to support it!!

    NO CITY or STATE subsidies!

  12. Any council member that votes for the F1 Fiasco has just signed their retirement papers. How could anyone fall for this obvious deception? How is it possible that, in a community with so many smart intelligent people, that we get people so dumb on our city council? And so weak. Leffingwell is hopeless. Spellman should have been leading the charge against this obvious land speculation grab for tax money. Why hasn’t he demanded to know the names of the investors? Now that so much opposition has surfaced does anyone think they would now dare to withhold that information? I voted for Bill and worked hard for his election but if he votes for this con game he will be the next one we TARGET for removal. Right after Martinez.

  13. My husband and I don’t think there is a single pseudo-sport more stupid and wasteful than Formula 1. As a commenter above said so aptly, a huge amount of good blackland soil is to be paved over. Austin taxpayers are supposed to shell out so a bunch of overpaid morons can drive around and around in bizarre, loud, fuel-guzzling, pollution-belching contraptions? This is not for Austin, where we still care about our environment and our local culture. Let the Euro-trash fund their own hobbies, and do it somewhere else!

  14. Got a response from Bill Spelman about why he would possibly be voting in favor of Formula 1. It actually included this comically absurd statement- “It could offer opportunities to merge our high tech and environmental sectors with the automotive industry.” I can’t believe even Bill Spelman thinks the automotive industry is going to partner with the “environmental sector” in any ingenuous way.

  15. This is the kind of thing that makes taxpayers not trust our city council and and we should ask for their resignations. This is totally irresponsible on their part. This money should go to helping our troubled schools.I would be ashamed if I were them .

  16. Now that the COA has endorsed (5-2 vote for) the FTPs request for Austin to become the host city for the upcoming Formula One race let’s step back a little and see what can be done to make sure this is profitable for all.

  17. One of the concerns we have about just that was expressed by Richard Viktorin today who explains that the audit controls for understanding this — what the profit is — are not there. That video will be up soon on our YouTube site at ChangeAustinorg, or you can watch the tape now posted on Channel 6. There’s also a lawsuit in play. And, finally, leading environmentalists today presented some very concerning information about Austin being pushed into “non-attainment” — a costly problem with air pollution. There was inadequate study of this and the costs are huge — $40MM potentially per year. It was a bums rush today. We need to ask why. That is a purely political question.

  18. Who are these people who came up with this Formula 1 Idea? Ill tell you unless you have your head in the sand it is investor groups and others like them who say they are your friends. They snuggle up with city counsel friends behind closed doors and come up with these dumb ideas. They did not think it through real well did you hear NOW they have decided it is too darn hot so they propose to move the races to cooler months? Like others have said who is going to go to this thing on a 2 lane road. We tax payers will be paying for that road just you wait and see. I am voting against each person who votes for more projects and I encourage you to do the same. Investors see us Austin folks as suckers who will pay for their projects we are a breeding ground of tax payers, we just keep taking it and taking it. WHY do we do this because we are hard at work making money to pay the taxes we are not down at city hall, we are not lobbying for clean living, we are too busy working to pay taxes we are honest people who are trusting other people believing they are honest like we are. I am not proud of that.

  19. If the racing track is build with the taxpayer’s money obiously the tax payer owns it and all the profit should go back to the taxpayers and after some we own it we should have free access to it.
    Stop your manipulations and start working for a change city concil.

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