On Tuesday, Central Texans headed to the polls and voted on a slew of important statewide and local decisions, including 10 constitutional amendments, half a billion dollars in new county debt, a new hotel tax, new rules for city government, and more.
Here are the results of the local propositions.
Tuesday, voters approved the one county proposition on the ballot: a new debt burden weighing nearly half a billion dollars.
The $447 million debt package, approved with at least 59 percent of the vote and now piled on to residents’ property tax bills, is for roads and parks ($412 million and $35 million, respectively).
As previously reported by Texas Scorecard, the half-billion-dollar bond had questionable cash involved throughout the process. All of the Williamson County Commissioners who made decisions on the road bond were simultaneously receiving campaign contributions from companies who build roads.
Additionally, construction companies were also fueling a political action committee that spent big bucks trying to sway voters to approve the bond. The PAC was almost entirely funded by engineering and construction corporations, many of which are either out of state or have already received financial deals from the county government.
Regardless, now citizens will have an extra half-billion to pay in their property taxes.
In a 62-38 split, voters approved Proposition A, which will now allow the county to charge a 2-cent tax on any hotel room rentals within the county.
Travis officials will use the new Hotel Occupancy Tax money to fund their redevelopment plan for the county exposition center. However, the county will not collect the tax within the city limits of Austin, because the city government already charges the maximum HOT allowed under state law.
CITY OF AUSTIN
Austinites had only two city propositions to vote on, and they rejected them both with at least 54 percent of the vote.
Proposition A would have essentially made it more difficult for the city to lease or sell public land for sports or entertainment purposes.
Had it been approved, the city council would have had to pass land lease deals for facilities like soccer stadiums or theater groups by a supermajority vote as well as put the decision to a public vote. The council would have also had to follow the same process for renewing existing public land agreements, such as with the Long Center or Zach Theater.
Proposition B dealt with the Austin Convention Center and would have changed how the city spends its Hotel Occupancy Tax.
Had it been approved, Proposition B would have required the city council to put planned expansion of the convention center to a public vote and would have prohibited the council from spending more than 34 percent of their HOT tax money on convention center projects. Instead, they would have needed to redirect HOT spending to “cultural arts” and “historic preservation.”