Making growth pay for itself!

Category Archives: News

First Rail Debate

The city recently put forth a bond package for the Project Connect rail plan involving $600 million of taxpayer dollars. Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 9.15.09 AM
We invite you to join us at this important discussion and debate about the rail plan so YOU can decide.

THIS TUESDAY, August 26th, 7 pm
8801 Research Blvd. Greater Austin Merchant’s Association
Moderator: Andy Pierrotti, KVUE-TV

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We also highly recommend you read this exhaustive article on this issue by our good friend, Roger Baker. You might remember Roger as a star volunteer for 10-1, not to mention his financial contributions.

Hope to see you there, Austin!

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The Case of the Missing Schwab Claw Back

Though the vote on Tuesday by the Travis County Commissioners Court was no surprise (4 to 1 for the Schwab deal), what did take us by surprScreen Shot 2014-08-06 at 8.41.54 PMise was the sleight of hand by the Court majority on the Schwab “claw back” clause. Austin media missed it too!

A claw back clause is supposed to protect the taxpayers by requiring companies who take public dollars and promise x, y and z, actually meet those promises. If they don’t, they have to give the money back.

Thanks to the due diligence of local developer, Ed Wendler, Jr., a longtime proponent of tax incentive reform, we got to see these magicians at the County in full action and they’re on tape!

Here’s how it went down.

At the beginning of the meeting, County Judge Sam Biscoe, who saw Wendler coming, asked the County Attorney, “Is the claw back clause there?” The County Attorney, dutifully answered in the affirmative. No questions asked.

In his testimony, Wendler raises the issue of the claw back stating that it’s there but it’s gutted because it’s only good for years 6 through 10. What about the first five years of the contract? It ain’t there, folks!

Then Commissioner Gerald Daugherty steps in and asks Schwab (not the County Attorney mind you), what their opinion is! What do you think they’re going to tell you, Gerald? Schwab’s response, “it’s ridiculous”.

Former Mayor Bruce Todd, who was appointed by Biscoe to temporarily fill the vacancy in Precinct 2 when Sarah Eckhardt decided to run for County Judge, completed the trick stating that the County needed to keep its word. Hmmm…where have we heard that one before?

Wendler’s most important testimony: giving these incentives in the midst of unparalleled growth is inflationary.

You warned them, Ed.

Now our only question is whether YOU, Austin voters, are ready to claw back our city!

Here’s what some of the candidates for City Council said when we asked them what they would do if the Schwab incentive came to the Austin City Council.

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Taxpayer Handout to Schwab…3 days notice!

You know there’s something really wrong when the Austin Business Journal starts sounding like the Rag Blog. But when it comes to a taxpayer handout to Schwab — that the County and the Company have been hiding until the last minute — it appears that we’re all in this together.

Travis County Commissioners Court will hold a “public hearing” tomorrow on a $8.5M (over 10 years) subsidy that includes a $3.6M County grant to Schwab. They gave our community 3 days notice on this one. Whupdedoo!
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