The Austin City Council is set to give away more tax dollars to renew a special deal with one of the council’s favored businesses: Planned Parenthood.
On Thursday, the council will most likely authorize an agreement to lease a publicly owned tract of land to the abortion provider at a special rate of $1 per year. The deal is good for the next 20 years with a 20-year extension option.
The deal actually dates back to 1972 when Planned Parenthood first began business at the East Austin location. Recent councils have renewed the exclusive agreement multiple times since then.
By leasing the land for $1 per year, the city is foregoing tax dollars and covering Planned Parenthood’s property rent—a cost of over $111,000 per year, the fair market value of the property.
Only one council member is expected to vote against the deal. Ellen Troxclair, the lone conservative voice on the dais, told Texas Scorecard the city council should not use taxpayer dollars to make special deals with hand-picked businesses.
“Apart from the fundamental objections I have to Planned Parenthood as an organization, the city, at council’s direction, is playing favorites and hasn’t competitively bid this real estate out for a better deal,” she said.
Troxclair also noted the city received another offer for the land, but refused to consider it.
“We’ve actually had an organization called Austin Life Care reach out and let us know that they can do everything Planned Parenthood can do but can pay the city fair market value,” she said. “I would note that Austin Life Care as an organization does not perform abortions.”
Rather than create a fair business environment, the city council has chosen to make exclusive deals with select companies while discriminating against others—using taxpayer dollars to do so.
The city council will vote on the agreement on Thursday, November 1.