Did you know there’s an election going on right now?
It’s not getting a lot of media attention, but there are several important issues for you to vote on come November 5th.
In Austin, there are two ballot propositions:
Prop A –
If passed, this proposition would add restrictions to the way the City of Austin sells or leases its land to youth, recreation, and professional sports facilities, as well as to entertainment facilities.
The story behind this – The proposition ended up on the ballot as a result of a petition aimed at challenging the construction of the new Major League Soccer stadium on city-owned land in north Austin. However, opponents of the proposition (which include SXSW, ACL Festival, Austin YMCA, Zach Theater, and the Long Center) say that if passed, it could cause unintended harm to other city cultural events (like the Trail of Lights or the Kite Festival). What’s more, the PACs that originally supported the petition drive are no longer advocating for Prop A.
Prop B –
If passed, this proposition would require voter approval of an Austin Convention Center expansion (costing more than $20 million), and would change how the city allocates revenue from hotel occupancy taxes, diverting more of the funds to cultural tourism.
The story behind this – Prop B is being supported by Unconventional Austin, which has expressed concern with the city’s $1.2 billion plan to expand the convention center. They say the expansion of the convention center should be put to Austinites for a vote and that more of Austin’s hotel occupancy taxes should go toward music, arts, parks, pools, and local businesses. Prop B is being supported by the Save Our Springs Alliance, the Austin Independent Business Alliance, and the NAACP Austin Chapter.
The group that has formed in opposition of Prop B, PHAM PAC, points out that the convention center expansion is being funded by the hotel occupancy tax (which is paid by tourists, and not residents). They also say the expansion is part of a larger plan that will result in more money for homelessness services, the music industry, and the Palm School. Groups in opposition to Prop B include the Austin Environmental Democrats, Ballet Austin, Cheer Up Charlie’s, Stubb’s, as well as the LGBT, Hispanic, Black, and Asian chambers of commerce.
A quick note on the Prop A’s…
As confusing as it may sound, there are several Prop A’s on the ballot this year. Information about the City of Austin Prop A is above. However, Travis County also has a Prop A on the ballot, which has to do with creating a 2 percent hotel occupancy tax to fund renovations at the Expo Center.
If you live in western Travis County, you might see yet another Prop A on your ballot, which has to do with the creation of a new groundwater conservation district in the area.
On now a quick word on the state…
Across Texas, voters will get to decide on 10 proposed constitutional amendments. For a full rundown on all of them, we recommend checking out this guide from the Texas Tribune. But we also wanted to take a moment to call special attention to Prop 5, which has to do with parks.
If passed, the amendment would guarantee that all the money from the sporting goods sales tax (which is already being collected) would go to fund our state parks.
“Prop 5 is a historic opportunity to make sure our parks get the funds they need and deserve,” said Luke Metzger (executive director of Environment Texas) in a press release in support of Prop 5.
Looking for more voter resources? Be sure to the check out the League of Women Voters’ Guide>>
Want to dive a little deeper on these topics? Listen to the most recent podcast we recorded with our radio partner, Shades of Green.