Austin Propositions Fail at the Ballots

Polling location

(Credit: KLBJ staff)

Two big items on the local ballots this week have failed to win approval from Austin voters.  Proposition A and Proposition B were both items born of citizen-led petitions, but in the end, neither was able to pass muster at the polls.

Proposition A would’ve given voters the final say on any new land deals involving sports or entertainment venues.  Along with public approval, Proposition A would’ve also required that taxes be levied on any venue leased on city-owned property.  But by a margin of more than 26,000 votes, the ballot item failed to garner enough momentum.  More than 62,500 voters opponed Proposition A, and more than 35,600 were in favor.

The pushback which led to Prop A being placed on the ballot began last year when the Austin City Council approved a controversial aggreement with Precourt Sports Ventures for a 20,000-seat Major League Soccer Stadium in North Austin.  

Proposition B would’ve given the final say to the public on expansion of the Austin Convention Center for any dollar amount beyond $20-million.  The ballot item also called for an overhaul of the way the city spends its Hotel Occupancy Tax dollars.  More than 50,000 votes were cast in opposition to Prop B, with just over 42,000 votes in favor.

Prop B landed on the ballot in 2019 following intense scrutiny over the planned $1.2-billion expansion of the Convention Center. 

While both of Austin’s ballot propositions failed to win approval, Travis County voters made a strong showing of support for allowing county leaders to use 2-percent of the Hotel Occupancy Tax to expand the Travis County Expo Center.  Nearly 75,000 votes were cast in favor of Travis County’s Proposition A.  A little more than 45,000 voted against.

With approval of Travis County’s Proposition A, commissioners can immediately begin drawing that 2-percent tax on hotel rooms, many of which are located in western Travis County.

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