Cost of Growth

ChangeAustin.org grew out of the 2008 narrowly defeated Prop 2 (to end the City of Austin’s $65 million, 20 year subsidy of the Domain luxury shopping mall).  Since then, we have done extensive research on the cost of growth and the growing practice of well-heeled special interests (we affectionately call them the Growth Machine, or better yet, the perpetual hogs at the public trough) offloading the costs of development (new schools, new fire stations, new roads and more) onto the backs of residents who cannot keep making up the difference for poor public policy decisions.

Brian Rodgers, who co-founded ChangeAustin.org, commissioned this study from ace community planner and author, Eben Fodor, about Austin’s costs of growth.  Here you will find Fodor’s documentation for Brian’s claim that at least $120 million per year in infrastructure costs is being off-loaded by the real estate industry onto current residents — to pay for all the newcomers.  Don’t forget, this is ON TOP of the 40% property tax under-valuations enjoyed by high-end commercial developments and 25% property tax under-valuations enjoyed $1M+ homeowners — totaling a staggering approximately $375M in missed property tax collections in Travis County!

This unequal state of affairs is forcing a showdown between moderate and low-income residents and the powerful growth industry.  This is the “stuff” of poverty creation.  Our mobility, our water and air, and central Texas’ relative affordability will be gone if citizens do not self-organize.  If it is not resolved fairly, no one wins.

You can’t stop growth.  But growth should pay for itself, which it surely can.

After you go through the Cost of Growth Presentation Slide Show subpage, make sure to go to the subpage about Water Treatment Plant #4.  It is an obscene water and taxpayer dollar waste supported by the 4 to 3 majority on the Austin City Council (Leffingwell, Martinez, Cole and the “swing vote” Shade).

There is additional data and information at CostofGrowth.com.


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ChangeAustin Supporters holding signs that spell Voter Revolt Dog and pony show ChangeAustin.org at the 2009 MLK March Water Treatment Plant #4 Debate, 2009. 10-1 revolt Lorri Michel Bill Alshire Austin CIty Council Brian Rodgers with then Travis County Chief Appraiser, testifying at the Travis County Commissioners Court. Tax protest a the Travis County Appraisal District, 2009 Tax protest a the Travis County Appraisal District, 2009
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