Austin vs. the rest of Texas?

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Mark Bornheimer

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Mar 28, 1995, 3:00:00 AM3/28/95
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In article <rxxj30-270395132720@davids_machine.sps.mot.com>, rxx...@email.sps.mot.com (David Horton) writes:
> In article <1995Mar26.153935.21886@rpp386>, jfh@rpp386 (John F. Haugh II)
> wrote:
>
> > In article <3kvbib$l...@ns1.arlut.utexas.edu> smc...@arlut.utexas.edu (Stuart McDow) writes:
> > >charles...@amd.com (Charles Herrick) writes:
> > >> If we want to charge and tax non-Austinites, we can do it in a
> > >> heartbeat.
> > >
> > >Cool.
> > >
> > >For once, charles says something I heartily agree with.
> >
> > Yes, and what you and Chuck didn't write is that New York City has seen
> > business running away because of these policies, as has much of New England.
> >
> > I personally don't want to live in Austin because the politics is
> > completely screwed and the tax rates are absurd. The only "city" services
> > I use are a few roads and a couple of convenience stores. As a non-resident
> > illegally being forced to pay a 1 cent sales tax (yes, there is a lawsuit
> > pending) to businesses in my MUD, I'm certainly paying for Austin services
> > I don't receive. When the injunction against Austin annexing Wells Branch
> > expires in 1999 (because Austin illegally harassed Wells Branch), I'll be
> > selling my house and moving to Round Rock.
> > --
> > John F. Haugh II [ NRA-ILA ] [ Kill Barney ] !'s: ...!cs.utexas.edu!rpp386!jfh
> > Ma Bell: (512) 251-2151 [GOP][DoF #17][PADI][ENTJ] @'s: j...@rpp386.cactus.org
>
> Hold it!! You use the most important service of all, your job! Austin has a
> thriving semiconductor industry because companies moved here because it was
> a nice place to live. (Of course, the Texas legislature just voted to
> change that and make Austin as miserable as Dallas, where I grew up.) You
> take, take, take money in the form of your paycheck, freeloading on the
> business community that AUSTIN invested in, drop a little at the
> convenience store and take the rest out of AUSTIN.
>
> When you're ready to give up your paycheck that was acquired in AUSTIN,
> I'll certainly support your not having to pay a sales tax. Until then, you
> have no credibility, you thief.
>
> (Note, the extremism is tongue-in-cheek, but the overall message is valid)

Businesses pay taxes to the city they are in. Therefore, a person working
at a business in Austin, IS indirectly supporting Austin. It is completely
crazy to think that anyone who works in Austin should have to live in, or
pay taxes to Austin. While it is possible for Austin to do this, it would
be a very bad long term decision. It will force people to live AND work in
other cities. That will encourage all the "thriving semiconductor industry" to
leave Austin. Remember that this is precisely the reason Austin aquired the
"thriving semiconductor industry". Austin was desirable because people
were tired of giving 90% of their paycheck to New York or California.

Mark Bornheimer

>
> --
> +------------------------------+-------------------------------+
> | David Horton | Warwick 5-String Thumb Bass |
> | Motorola DSP Digital Audio | Pearce B2p Amplification |
> | rxx...@email.sps.mot.com | "Be seeing you" - #6 |
> +------------------------------+-------------------------------+

Mark Bornheimer

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Mar 28, 1995, 3:00:00 AM3/28/95
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In article <rxxj30-270395133458@davids_machine.sps.mot.com>, rxx...@email.sps.mot.com (David Horton) writes:
> In article <3l4e7j$8...@pentagon.io.com>, nat...@pentagon.io.com (natural)
> wrote:
>
> > In article <1995Mar26.153935.21886@rpp386>,

> > John F. Haugh II <j...@rpp386.cactus.org> wrote:
> > >In article <3kvbib$l...@ns1.arlut.utexas.edu> smc...@arlut.utexas.edu (Stuart McDow) writes:
> > >>charles...@amd.com (Charles Herrick) writes:
> > >>> If we want to charge and tax non-Austinites, we can do it in a
> > >>> heartbeat.
> > >>
> > >>Cool.
> > >>
> > >>For once, charles says something I heartily agree with.
>
> Damn, me too.
>
> >
> > Except that IBM came to Austin because it WAS "Austin", and since
> > you work there YOU benefit, indirectly, from it being in Austin.
> > Wells Branch would not exist without Austin.
> >
> > Annexation sux, but users fees for non-taxpayers is a great idea.
> > City income taxes are moronic - agreed. But doncha think that the
> > suburban residents have a vested interest in seeing a healthy,
> > vibrant Austin?
>
> Right now, they have their cake and eat it too. They get all the business,
> employment, cultural, and infrastructure benefits of living in Austin
> without paying for them. This is essentually welfare for the suburbs. Do
> you really think that Lakeway, Westlake Hills, Round Rock, et al could
> attract and keep the number of people and businesses that they have without
> AUSTIN?
>
> Then they turn around and support punishing their benefactor, AUSTIN.
>
> It's often a good idea to shoot rabid dogs before they bite you.
>
> >
> > In exchange for users fees, I'd trade some proportionate voting
> > rights - maybe you get 1/2 a vote in our elections.
>
> That's roughly analogous to getting to vote on 7-11 company policy after
> buying a soft drink there. How about proportianate voting for paying
> proportionate property taxes instead? If you've been annexed, but the city
> hasn't gotten all the services put in yet, a reduced tax rate would be
> appropriate. Then perhaps a lower region-wide tax payed to AUSTIN. If you
> can prove that you don't use any AUSTIN services, are not employed in
> AUSTIN, never watch AUSTIN TV stations, never go into AUSTIN, use it's
> roads, water, trash collection, etc, you can be exempted. Otherwise, buddy,
> quit freeloading and pay your fair share.
>

Do you ever freeload on other cities? From what you are saying, I certainly
hope you NEVER leave the Austin city limits. Or if you do leave, and stray
into the Austin subarbs, I assume that you drop by the local courthouse to
leave a donation.

BTW - I live and work in Austin, and pay way more tax than Austin will ever
be worth. This has nothing to do with people outside of Austin freeloading,
it has everything to do with the city officials being a bunch of spend happy
losers. Fortunately for them they have poeple like you who think the solution
is to give them more money to waste.

Mark Bornheimer

Brian G. Benton

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Mar 29, 1995, 3:00:00 AM3/29/95
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T...@physics.utexas.edu (Tai Morris) wrote:
>
> In <3l9m9f$4...@villa.fc.net> br...@lim.com writes:
>
> > They relocate here because Austin is a nice place to live?
> > How about the Austin area! Employers are very much attracted to
> > the lakes and hill country that reside OUTSIDE of Austin.
> > It's why I moved here. My company happens to reside in what is
> > now Austin and pays Austin city taxes. I live in Lakeway and
> > mostly use the amenities in that area. But again, I also contribute
> > to Austin's tax base and should be entitled to use Austin services
> > as well.
>
> So you think people would still come if Austin became a run-down
> crime-infested city? I don't think so. But that might be the case if
> Austin lost it's ability to annex and thus increase its tax base.

Where in my post did I mention anything about annexation. I replied because
David stated that Lakeway is what it is because of Austin, which
is untrue.

>
> It seems that those who live in the suburbs think they pay enough
> (or too much) for the services they receive from Austin, while those
> within Austin's boundaries disagree. I don't know how much the suburbians
> pay or how much they receive in return, but, IMO, it's really short-sighted
> to think that limitting a city's ability to annex will be good for anyone
> in the long run.

Again, I have not mentioned anything concerning annexation. Also,
I am willing to bet you that I put more into Austin than I take out.
In addition to paying Lakeway, Lake Travis ISD, Travis County,
Fire District, and MUD taxes, I also pay Austin related taxes as my company
resides in Austin. More importantly, I also spend a significant amount
of money in the Austin area, thus helping the economy. If you begin
taxing me to come into the city to make purchases (ex. toll roads
for non Austin residents) I might take my business elseware. I mention
this because this type of situation was referred to earlier.

> I guess, as someone suggested, we just need to elect
> people who will look out for Austin's interest and not get into deals
> where Austinites foot the bill for development in the suburbs only to
> get shafted in the end. As for those who live out there with low taxes
> and gripe about paying more, how much would you have had to pay if Austin
> didn't help out initially?

Austin help out initially with Lakeway??? No.

>
> Tai


Brian Benton (resident of Lakeway)


Kaveh Massoudian

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Mar 29, 1995, 3:00:00 AM3/29/95
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In article <3l9rvd$b...@peaches.cs.utexas.edu>, lan...@cs.utexas.edu (L. Lance Obermeyer) writes:
>
> I will say, however, the worst offender is not COA , but AISD
> (Austin Ignorant Student Developers). The /dev/null of tax dollars.
>

Definitely my hot button also. More than half of our property taxes
are going to AISD and the kids do not seem to be doing any better
in scholastic achievements than smaller less expensive school districts.

--
Kaveh Massoudian Internet : ka...@austin.ibm.com

Disclaimer : opinions expressed are mine and do not represent views of IBM

Marc J. Stephenson

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Mar 29, 1995, 3:00:00 AM3/29/95
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In article <3l9qck$f...@geraldo.cc.utexas.edu> T...@physics.utexas.edu (Tai Morris) writes:
>In <3l9m9f$4...@villa.fc.net> br...@lim.com writes:
>
>> They relocate here because Austin is a nice place to live?
>> How about the Austin area! Employers are very much attracted to
>> the lakes and hill country that reside OUTSIDE of Austin.
>> It's why I moved here. My company happens to reside in what is
>> now Austin and pays Austin city taxes. I live in Lakeway and
>> mostly use the amenities in that area. But again, I also contribute
>> to Austin's tax base and should be entitled to use Austin services
>> as well.
>
>So you think people would still come if Austin became a run-down
>crime-infested city? I don't think so. But that might be the case if
>Austin lost it's ability to annex and thus increase its tax base.

Please explain why Austin will become a run-down crime infested city if
it does not annex outlying residential areas. I think that the theory is
not well-founded, given the highly sought after residential real estate in
the core of the city. Pretend that Austin didn't have any annexation rights
at all. Would increasing your tax rate prevent Austin from becoming a
run-down crime-infested city? If someone gave the city of Austin 50
billion dollars, would that prevent it? 500 billion? Remember, the taxes
fund the city government, not the citizens.

By the way, the legislation only targets residential areas with 50 or more
homes; the commercial properties are still annexable. An article written by a
Wells Branch anti-annexation person in today's (3/29) Statesman claims that
the residential taxes only account for 12% of the city's tax revenue anyway.

>It seems that those who live in the suburbs think they pay enough
>(or too much) for the services they receive from Austin, while those
>within Austin's boundaries disagree. I don't know how much the suburbians
>pay or how much they receive in return, but, IMO, it's really short-sighted
>to think that limitting a city's ability to annex will be good for anyone

^
residential property

>in the long run. I guess, as someone suggested, we just need to elect


>people who will look out for Austin's interest and not get into deals
>where Austinites foot the bill for development in the suburbs only to
>get shafted in the end. As for those who live out there with low taxes
>and gripe about paying more, how much would you have had to pay if Austin
>didn't help out initially?

The following paragraph is pure conjecture. I don't know the details and
origins of MUDs and PUDs:

I can only guess that MUD agreements are sleazy to begin with. Cities don't
pay for the risk that an area won't pan out, and developers get their services.
When the developers are done (nobody ever really "developed" Lost Creek, as
Milburn or Doyle Wilson or David Weekly/Scott Felder have done in other
areas), the city just comes in and takes over the area, without regard to
the people living there. Nobody's at risk in a MUD agreement except for the
eventual residents (unless legislation passes to change that fact).

>
>Tai
--
Marc Stephenson IBM RISC System/6000 Division - Austin,TX
DISCLAIMER: The content of this posting is independent of official IBM position.
INTERNET->ma...@austin.ibm.com VNET: MARC at AUSTIN IBM T/L: 678-3189

Joel Irby

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Mar 30, 1995, 3:00:00 AM3/30/95
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In article 0004...@acad.stedwards.edu, kil...@acad.stedwards.edu (deb) writes:
>In article <3l6nl9$h...@digdug.pencom.com> ro...@pencom.com (Robin D. Wilson) writes:
>

>>Then entice development with less restrictive taxation and services
>>fees. Don't relax environmental standards, but make them applicable to
>>_actual_ problems (not some overblown "prospective" problems).
>
>How come you believe in other invisible things, but you can't imagine
>that if one develops on our water supply, it will have a negative
>impact on our drinking water?

Actually, the threat is not to our drinking water supply but to our water-
ways in general. Austin gets most of its drinking water from the highland
lakes, i.e. the ones formed when the Colorado River was dammed. San Antonio
*does* get its drinking water from the Edwards Aquifer, and they have enacted
strict water-quality controls in the aquifer feeder zone (stricter than Austin's
now-defunct SOS ordinance, in fact).

The fact that we don't get our drinking water from Barton Creek, Barton Springs,
or the aquifer doesn't diminish the need to preserve their quality one bit, IMO.
To argue that we must do it because the quality of our drinking water will be
compromised is misleading. There are plenty of legitimate reasons for doing so,
the best of which is the contribution of the Creek and the Springs to Austin's
unmatched (at least for a good-sized Texas city) natural beauty.

---
----------------------------------------------------------------------
_ J o e l I r b y ir...@jabar.sps.mot.com
_| ~-. Austin, TX 16-Bit DSP Product/Test Engineering
\, *_} 512-891-8884 Motorola SPS
\( Speaking only for myself, and NOT Motorola or its customers.
----------------------------------------------------------------------


Stuart McDow

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Mar 30, 1995, 3:00:00 AM3/30/95
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born...@austin.ibm.com (Mark Bornheimer) writes:
> ... That will encourage all the "thriving semiconductor industry" to

> leave Austin. Remember that this is precisely the reason Austin
> aquired the "thriving semiconductor industry". Austin was desirable
> because people were tired of giving 90% of their paycheck to New
> York or California.

The reason that Austin aquired its "thriving semiconductor industry"
is largely because the University of Texas College of Engineering and
the University of Texas Institute for Creative Capatalism.

UT supplies a steady supply of first-class engineering school
graduates, and has been doing so for a long time. The roots of the
semi-conducter boom lie in the fact that during the 60s, 70s and 80s
students who came to Austin to go to school liked Austin so much that
they decided to stay. The semiconductor industry saw an abundance of
talented, well-trained people __already__ living in Austin and located
here. Then the carpetbaggers followed, as they are want to do. Austin
was (and is) a desirable place to live regardless of the local
politics and taxes.

The semiconductor industry in Austin would have thrived regardless of
the state of taxes in California or New York. It already had a lot of
momentum in the early 80s, before Cal or NY became 'undesirable'
places to live. In that sense, I don't think that 'Silicon Gulch' is
in any trouble of packing up and leaving due to politics or taxes
anymore than Silicon Valley will pack up and leave the Bay Area.

--
Stuart McDow Applied Research Laboratories
smc...@arlut.utexas.edu The University of Texas at Austin

wharfie

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Mar 30, 1995, 3:00:00 AM3/30/95
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In article <1995Mar30....@integrity.uucp> johnf jJohnf) writes:
>I agree with the other poster. Take Take Take.
>So easy to do, so obvious to those who see YOU do it.

Fer shure.

Remember to pay your toll on the way through Round Rock, y'hear?

In fact, we'll send you a bill whenever the wind blows Northeast.
Can't have all that air for free, now, can we?

Robin D. Wilson

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Mar 30, 1995, 3:00:00 AM3/30/95
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In article <1995Mar30....@integrity.uucp> johnf jJohnf) writes:
:So why the hell are you still here ?? Oh, I see, you work
:IN Austin. Hmm. Can;t find a job in P'Ville. So I guess
:that means you are a regular traveler within the city, and
:as such make uses of city propertly and services (a bunch
:of trite denials expected here).

Other than roads -- which city properties do I use? Which city services do I
use (outside of those paid by my employer)? No denials -- just not aware of
any benefits that I'm receiving from the City...

Or... are you attempting to imply that I couldn't get a job elsewhere? FYI,
I _had_ a job elsewhere and chose to come here. I came to this region
because of a number of factors. I _like_ the area. I even _like_ Austin.
But if Austin starts getting the idea that it should be more like NYC, or
California -- I'll leave in a minute. (Which is precisely my point -- lots
of people would leave.)

:I agree with the other poster. Take Take Take.

So (as I asked before) what _exactly_ am I "taking"? The air?

:So easy to do, so obvious to those who see YOU do it.

FYI, I don't live in Pflugerville because of its booming job market. I live
there precisely because it's not Austin. In fact, I've been thinking about
moving a little further away with my next house... I hope that makes you
feel better about yourself...

--
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
*** These are my opinions... Mine! All Mine! Minemineminemineminemine! ***
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Robin D. Wilson ro...@pencom.com Pencom Software
701 Canyon Bend Dr. 9050 Capital of Texas Hwy
Pflugerville, TX 78660 Austin, TX 78759

Mark Bornheimer

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Mar 30, 1995, 3:00:00 AM3/30/95
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I certainly agree that UT is one of the reasons that the semiconductor
industry grew in Austin, but it is only one of many factors. The north
east, and the California coast both have many fine schools. Austin was
able to attract workers and companies away from those areas because it is
nicer than the NE, and cheaper than either place. I think the comparitively
cheap cost of living in Austin was one of the main reasons that Austin has
grown as much as it has in the past 10 years. If taxes continue to rise in
Austin, it will definitely slow if not stop growth.

Mark Bornheimer

Don House

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Mar 30, 1995, 3:00:00 AM3/30/95
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> Then don't enter into agreements with developments outside of the city
> limits if you expect to get something from them other than complaints.

Maybe developments outside the city shouldn't enter into agreements with
the city if they have have no intention of honoring them.


> --
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *** These are my opinions... Mine! All Mine! Minemineminemineminemine! ***
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Robin D. Wilson ro...@pencom.com Pencom Software
> 701 Canyon Bend Dr. 9050 Capital of Texas Hwy
> Pflugerville, TX 78660 Austin, TX 78759

---


Don House

Joel Irby

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Mar 31, 1995, 3:00:00 AM3/31/95
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In article b...@peaches.cs.utexas.edu, lan...@cs.utexas.edu (L. Lance Obermeyer) writes:
>In article <3l9qck$f...@geraldo.cc.utexas.edu>,

>Tai Morris <T...@physics.utexas.edu> wrote:
>>It seems that those who live in the suburbs think they pay enough
>>(or too much) for the services they receive from Austin, while those
>>within Austin's boundaries disagree.
>BZZTT Wrong!!
>
>I own a home within Austin's boundaries and I pay too much for the
>services I receive. And I certainly don't think the ultimate
>solution is to screw the non-Austin suburbs. In fact, I believe
>the best thing to do is to immediately stop all annexation
>as a way of limiting the funds available to our wonderful City
>Council.

So you think the council will be able to provide cheaper city services
with less money (a shrinking percentage of the area's tax base) and a
greater demand for those services due to growth in Austin's suburbs?
Is this sort of like Voodoo Economics?


> The less money they can waste, the better off the whole
>region will be. The differential tax rates between Austin and
>the burbs should tend to limit the growth of COA.

No, lack of annexation powers will limit the growth of Austin's city
limits. The Austin area, OTOH, will continue to grow, contributing to
urban sprawl, making Austin more like Houston and Dallas, those wonderful
Texas cities that so many of us Austinites originally moved away from.

So, in the most perverse way I can imagine, taking away Austin's annexation
powers *will* limit the growth of the area, but only at the expense of
the quality of life that has drawn so many businesses here in the first
place. Ironic, ain't it?

L. Lance Obermeyer

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Mar 31, 1995, 3:00:00 AM3/31/95
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In article <D6BK6...@oakhill.sps.mot.com>,
Joel Irby <ir...@zinger.sps.mot.com> wrote:
[ clipped ]

>So you think the council will be able to provide cheaper city services
>with less money (a shrinking percentage of the area's tax base) and a
>greater demand for those services due to growth in Austin's suburbs?
>Is this sort of like Voodoo Economics?

No. This has nothing to do with "Voodoo Economics." That was/is
a quite straight forward concept revolving around the "J" curve
(which I think is due to Laffer. or was it Jude Wanniski(sp?))
and punitive tax rates as they relate to total tax collections.

My feeling is that the city council has neither the responsibility
nor the right to spend taxpayers money on certain things. I would
include both services I don't care a flip about (currect example is
minor league baseball) and services I do use (muni golf).

The mere fact that a possible service sounds nice and there are many
people who would use it does not imply it should be government funded.
Lack of annexation will, i think we both agree, limit the pool of funds
available to the CC. It is my belief that this lack of resources
*may* force the CC into some prioritization and hard choices and that
making the *correct* choices will improve overall quality of life.

[ clipped ]


--
Lance Obermeyer lan...@arlut.utexas.edu
Applied Research Laboratory lan...@cs.utexas.edu
University of Texas at Austin 512-835-3837


Mark Bornheimer

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Apr 1, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/1/95
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In article <D6BK6...@oakhill.sps.mot.com>, ir...@zinger.sps.mot.com (Joel Irby) writes:
> In article b...@peaches.cs.utexas.edu, lan...@cs.utexas.edu (L. Lance Obermeyer) writes:
> >In article <3l9qck$f...@geraldo.cc.utexas.edu>,
> >Tai Morris <T...@physics.utexas.edu> wrote:
> >>It seems that those who live in the suburbs think they pay enough
> >>(or too much) for the services they receive from Austin, while those
> >>within Austin's boundaries disagree.
> >BZZTT Wrong!!
> >
> >I own a home within Austin's boundaries and I pay too much for the
> >services I receive. And I certainly don't think the ultimate
> >solution is to screw the non-Austin suburbs. In fact, I believe
> >the best thing to do is to immediately stop all annexation
> >as a way of limiting the funds available to our wonderful City
> >Council.
>
> So you think the council will be able to provide cheaper city services
> with less money (a shrinking percentage of the area's tax base) and a
> greater demand for those services due to growth in Austin's suburbs?
> Is this sort of like Voodoo Economics?

I think this is absoloutly correct. The city will be able to provide
cheaper services if they have less. Most people do not considering saving
money or spending wisely until they have to. The city of Austin has
no reason to spend less, when they can take in as much money as they
desire. Once they can't get any more money, they will be forced to
either use what they get wisely, or go broke.

Mark Bornheimer

John F. Haugh II

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Apr 2, 1995, 4:00:00 AM4/2/95
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In article <3lel8b$h...@newsgate.sps.mot.com> ho...@oakhill.sps.mot.com writes:
>> Then don't enter into agreements with developments outside of the city
>> limits if you expect to get something from them other than complaints.
>
> Maybe developments outside the city shouldn't enter into agreements with
> the city if they have have no intention of honoring them.

Austin ETJ exists regardless of any agreements which the areas in the ETJ
(which may expand over time as Austin annexes other areas in its ETJ) may
have made. But to quote the Austin American-Spaceman --

"Often arrogant in its dealings with neighboring communities,
the city meets a wall of resistance when it decides to expand
its tax base by annexation; ...Austin-area suburbanites have
legitimate concerns about city policies and the likelyhood of
paying more taxes for fewer services if they are annexed."

Annexation is a one way deal. Under present law the citizens of an area
have NO VOTE in their own annexation. The only people who get to decide
are the city council and the voters of Austin.

Don House

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Apr 3, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/3/95
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In article 23346@rpp386, jfh@rpp386 (John F. Haugh II) writes:
In article <3lel8b$h...@newsgate.sps.mot.com> ho...@oakhill.sps.mot.com writes:
>>> Then don't enter into agreements with developments outside of the city
>>> limits if you expect to get something from them other than complaints.
>>

>> Maybe developments outside the city shouldn't enter into agreements with
>> the city if they have have no intention of honoring them.

>Austin ETJ exists regardless of any agreements which the areas in the ETJ
>(which may expand over time as Austin annexes other areas in its ETJ) may
>have made. But to quote the Austin American-Spaceman --

^^^^^^^^^

Looks like we both agree on the validity of your source's opinion.


> "Often arrogant in its dealings with neighboring communities,
> the city meets a wall of resistance when it decides to expand
> its tax base by annexation; ...Austin-area suburbanites have
> legitimate concerns about city policies and the likelyhood of
> paying more taxes for fewer services if they are annexed."

>Annexation is a one way deal. Under present law the citizens of an area
>have NO VOTE in their own annexation. The only people who get to decide
>are the city council and the voters of Austin.

That still doesn't change the fact that the MUDs agreed to future annexation when they
asked Austin for access to their services. I say the MUDs should honor their word.

--
>John F. Haugh II [ NRA-ILA ] [ Kill Barney ] !'s: ...!cs.utexas.edu!rpp386!jfh
>Ma Bell: (512) 251-2151 [GOP][DoF #17][PADI][ENTJ] @'s: j...@rpp386.cactus.org


Don House

Robin D. Wilson

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Apr 3, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/3/95
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In article <D6BK6...@oakhill.sps.mot.com> ir...@zinger.sps.mot.com (Joel
Irby) writes:
:In article b...@peaches.cs.utexas.edu, lan...@cs.utexas.edu (L. Lance
Obermeyer) writes:
:>In article <3l9qck$f...@geraldo.cc.utexas.edu>,
:>Tai Morris <T...@physics.utexas.edu> wrote:
:>>It seems that those who live in the suburbs think they pay enough
:>>(or too much) for the services they receive from Austin, while those
:>>within Austin's boundaries disagree.
:>BZZTT Wrong!!
:>
:>I own a home within Austin's boundaries and I pay too much for the
:>services I receive. And I certainly don't think the ultimate
:>solution is to screw the non-Austin suburbs. In fact, I believe
:>the best thing to do is to immediately stop all annexation
:>as a way of limiting the funds available to our wonderful City
:>Council.
:
:So you think the council will be able to provide cheaper city services
:with less money (a shrinking percentage of the area's tax base) and a
:greater demand for those services due to growth in Austin's suburbs?
:Is this sort of like Voodoo Economics?

Where did you get the idea that they get _less_ money because the suburban
tax base increases? Is this sort of like "new math"? As _all_ property
values increase, and sales revenues within the city's limits increase, and
business values within the city's limits increase -- so does the city's
revenues. Since when is there a "zero-sum" value for the entire region
(i.e., if value goes up in one place, there will be a corresponding drop in
value elsewhere)?

:
:> The less money they can waste, the better off the whole


:>region will be. The differential tax rates between Austin and
:>the burbs should tend to limit the growth of COA.
:
:No, lack of annexation powers will limit the growth of Austin's city
:limits. The Austin area, OTOH, will continue to grow, contributing to
:urban sprawl, making Austin more like Houston and Dallas, those wonderful
:Texas cities that so many of us Austinites originally moved away from.

??! And annexation will stop this?

:So, in the most perverse way I can imagine, taking away Austin's annexation

:powers *will* limit the growth of the area, but only at the expense of
:the quality of life that has drawn so many businesses here in the first
:place. Ironic, ain't it?

Not "ironic" -- just an incorrect result based on a specious premise. (You
even stated that the area will continue to grow like "Houston and Dallas" --
sort of contradictory to yourself...)

Robin D. Wilson

unread,
Apr 3, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/3/95
to
In article <3lhr61$j...@peaches.cs.utexas.edu> lan...@cs.utexas.edu (L. Lance
Obermeyer) writes:
:In article <D6BK6...@oakhill.sps.mot.com>,

:Joel Irby <ir...@zinger.sps.mot.com> wrote:
:[ clipped ]
:>So you think the council will be able to provide cheaper city services
:>with less money (a shrinking percentage of the area's tax base) and a
:>greater demand for those services due to growth in Austin's suburbs?
:>Is this sort of like Voodoo Economics?
:
:No. This has nothing to do with "Voodoo Economics." That was/is

:a quite straight forward concept revolving around the "J" curve
:(which I think is due to Laffer. or was it Jude Wanniski(sp?))
:and punitive tax rates as they relate to total tax collections.
:
:My feeling is that the city council has neither the responsibility
:nor the right to spend taxpayers money on certain things. I would
:include both services I don't care a flip about (currect example is
:minor league baseball) and services I do use (muni golf).

Both examples end-up in a "net gain" for the city's tax revenues (usually)...
Perhaps you are against the City running (or investing in) a private
enterprise? Then (of course) Austin wouldn't be able to compete with other
cities that have no such qualms about investment...

:The mere fact that a possible service sounds nice and there are many

:people who would use it does not imply it should be government funded.
:Lack of annexation will, i think we both agree, limit the pool of funds
:available to the CC. It is my belief that this lack of resources
:*may* force the CC into some prioritization and hard choices and that
:making the *correct* choices will improve overall quality of life.

Agreed...

Marc J. Stephenson

unread,
Apr 3, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/3/95
to
In article <D6D2A...@austin.ibm.com> born...@austin.ibm.com (Mark Bornheimer) writes:
>
>In article <D6BK6...@oakhill.sps.mot.com>, ir...@zinger.sps.mot.com (Joel Irby) writes:

>> In article b...@peaches.cs.utexas.edu, lan...@cs.utexas.edu (L. Lance Obermeyer) writes:
>> >In article <3l9qck$f...@geraldo.cc.utexas.edu>,
>> >Tai Morris <T...@physics.utexas.edu> wrote:
>> >>It seems that those who live in the suburbs think they pay enough
>> >>(or too much) for the services they receive from Austin, while those
>> >>within Austin's boundaries disagree.
>> >BZZTT Wrong!!
>> >
>> >I own a home within Austin's boundaries and I pay too much for the
>> >services I receive. And I certainly don't think the ultimate
>> >solution is to screw the non-Austin suburbs. In fact, I believe
>> >the best thing to do is to immediately stop all annexation
>> >as a way of limiting the funds available to our wonderful City
>> >Council.
>>
>> So you think the council will be able to provide cheaper city services
>> with less money (a shrinking percentage of the area's tax base) and a
>> greater demand for those services due to growth in Austin's suburbs?
>> Is this sort of like Voodoo Economics?
>
>I think this is absoloutly correct. The city will be able to provide
>cheaper services if they have less. Most people do not considering saving
>money or spending wisely until they have to. The city of Austin has
>no reason to spend less, when they can take in as much money as they
>desire. Once they can't get any more money, they will be forced to
>either use what they get wisely, or go broke.

Remember as well that Austin will have to provide services to these remote
areas that they are annexing. That's either going to reduce service to the
rest of the city by stretching resources or it's going to cost the city more
money to acquire services/personnel to provide services to the newly annexed
areas.

Also, and forgive me for repeating myself, the bill in question to limit the
annexation powers ONLY limits the right to annex RESIDENTIAL areas (with
either 50 residents or 50 homes, I can't remember which) in the sense that
those area residents would be given the chance to vote on the annexation.
Quoting the Wells Branch guy from the paper, residential property taxes only
comprise 12% of Austin's revenues.

One other thing that I had wrong before - I had said that it would cost me
$1000/year if Austin annexes Lost Creek. As it turns out, when Austin acquires
a MUD, the residents continue to pay MUD taxes as well as begin paying the
city taxes. The tax increase is going to be over $1700/year instead. It's
no wonder that 98% of people surveyed by the Lost Creek Neighborhood
Association voted against annexation.

>
>Mark Bornheimer


>
>> > The less money they can waste, the better off the whole
>> >region will be. The differential tax rates between Austin and
>> >the burbs should tend to limit the growth of COA.
>>
>> No, lack of annexation powers will limit the growth of Austin's city
>> limits. The Austin area, OTOH, will continue to grow, contributing to
>> urban sprawl, making Austin more like Houston and Dallas, those wonderful
>> Texas cities that so many of us Austinites originally moved away from.

Austin doesn't have the geographical qualities that promote urban sprawl like
Houston and Dallas have. Austin can grow on the eastern side, but that's not
where the money is right now. The west side of Austin is a bloody pain in the
butt to expand into. The northwest has Cedar Park and Leander in the way, the
northeast has Pflugerville and Round Rock (Austin cannot annex areas in these
cities' ETJs, and vice versa). Austin could also grow south easily, I suppose.

Houston has taken advantage of the annexation laws in particularly sleazy
ways - the community of Clear Lake City, which is a good 20 miles from
downtown Houston, got annexed by Houston just because there were affluent
people living down there.

>>
>> So, in the most perverse way I can imagine, taking away Austin's annexation
>> powers *will* limit the growth of the area, but only at the expense of
>> the quality of life that has drawn so many businesses here in the first
>> place. Ironic, ain't it?
>>
>>

>> ---
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>> _ J o e l I r b y ir...@jabar.sps.mot.com
>> _| ~-. Austin, TX 16-Bit DSP Product/Test Engineering
>> \, *_} 512-891-8884 Motorola SPS
>> \( Speaking only for myself, and NOT Motorola or its customers.
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>>

John F. Haugh II

unread,
Apr 4, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/4/95
to
In article <3lp5an$a...@newsgate.sps.mot.com> ho...@oakhill.sps.mot.com writes:
>In article 23346@rpp386, jfh@rpp386 (John F. Haugh II) writes:
>Looks like we both agree on the validity of your source's opinion.

The only people who respect the Spaceman are the liberal flunkies
who drool over the editorial pages then insist that the Spaceman is
the mouthpiece of the right ...

>> "Often arrogant in its dealings with neighboring communities,
>> the city meets a wall of resistance when it decides to expand
>> its tax base by annexation; ...Austin-area suburbanites have
>> legitimate concerns about city policies and the likelyhood of
>> paying more taxes for fewer services if they are annexed."
>
>>Annexation is a one way deal. Under present law the citizens of an area
>>have NO VOTE in their own annexation. The only people who get to decide
>>are the city council and the voters of Austin.
>
>That still doesn't change the fact that the MUDs agreed to future annexation when they
>asked Austin for access to their services. I say the MUDs should honor their word.

For starters, agreements are made in the legal domain of "good faith". The
city is operating in BAD FAITH (which is a legal concept, not just an opinion
of mine) when it increases taxes and reduces services. When either party to
an agreement acts in bad faith, calling the validity of the agreement into
question is certainly reasonable.

John Fedor

unread,
Apr 4, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/4/95
to
In article <3lf8ca$6...@rambler.unisql.com>, wr...@unisql.unisql.com (wharfie) writes:
|> In article <1995Mar30....@integrity.uucp> johnf jJohnf) writes:
|> >I agree with the other poster. Take Take Take.
|> >So easy to do, so obvious to those who see YOU do it.
|>
|> Fer shure.
|>
|> Remember to pay your toll on the way through Round Rock, y'hear?

Well you got that right, the only time I get near RR
is to go THROUGH it, and I believe I'll stick to the
state highways.

johnf

unread,
Apr 4, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/4/95
to
In article <3lf9en$f...@digdug.pencom.com>, ro...@pencom.com (Robin D. Wilson) writes:
|> In article <1995Mar30....@integrity.uucp> johnf jJohnf) writes:
|> :So why the hell are you still here ?? Oh, I see, you work
|> :IN Austin. Hmm. Can;t find a job in P'Ville. So I guess
|> :that means you are a regular traveler within the city, and
|> :as such make uses of city propertly and services (a bunch
|> :of trite denials expected here).
|>
|> Other than roads -- which city properties do I use? Which city services do I
|> use (outside of those paid by my employer)? No denials -- just not aware of
|> any benefits that I'm receiving from the City...

Can you really not figure this out for yourself. Let's start
with the place you work. Location ?? OK, where does it get
all the services that provide you with your job. Now, why
is that company here, could it be incentives, low tax rate,
now who do you think subsidizes this, not some TAKER that
lives in P'Ville.

|>
|> Or... are you attempting to imply that I couldn't get a job elsewhere? FYI,
|> I _had_ a job elsewhere and chose to come here. I came to this region
|> because of a number of factors. I _like_ the area. I even _like_ Austin.
|> But if Austin starts getting the idea that it should be more like NYC, or
|> California -- I'll leave in a minute. (Which is precisely my point -- lots
|> of people would leave.)

I guess you have a strange way of showing somebody (or something)
that you do like it.

As to Austin getting like NYC or CA, spare me. Austin might
get like Dallas (full of people that don;t give a shit - ie
you) but it will never get like New York. All this reactionary
crap because of SOS and Freeport MacMoran. If this was NY,
there would never have been a question of whether or not
FM properies would have gotten what they wanted, they could
have gotten that and more. Your characterizations about
Austin versus NY or CA are inane.

You know what they say about the door hitting you...

|>
|> :I agree with the other poster. Take Take Take.
|>
|> So (as I asked before) what _exactly_ am I "taking"? The air?

Just because you can't see what you TAKE doesn;t mean you
don't TAKE as much as everybody else. Just means you choose
to ignore what you do.

|>
|> :So easy to do, so obvious to those who see YOU do it.
|>
|> FYI, I don't live in Pflugerville because of its booming job market. I live
|> there precisely because it's not Austin. In fact, I've been thinking about
|> moving a little further away with my next house... I hope that makes you
|> feel better about yourself...

I hear Waco has some really nice places you might be interested in.



|>
|> --
|> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|> *** These are my opinions... Mine! All Mine! Minemineminemineminemine! ***
|> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
|> Robin D. Wilson ro...@pencom.com Pencom Software
|> 701 Canyon Bend Dr. 9050 Capital of Texas Hwy
|> Pflugerville, TX 78660 Austin, TX 78759

John
Austin Texas.

Russell Spence

unread,
Apr 4, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/4/95
to
In article <D6BK6...@oakhill.sps.mot.com> ir...@zinger.sps.mot.com writes:

>In article lan...@cs.utexas.edu (L. Lance Obermeyer) writes:
>> In fact, I believe
>>the best thing to do is to immediately stop all annexation
>>as a way of limiting the funds available to our wonderful City
>>Council.
...

>> The less money they can waste, the better off the whole
>>region will be. The differential tax rates between Austin and
>>the burbs should tend to limit the growth of COA.
>
>No, lack of annexation powers will limit the growth of Austin's city
>limits. The Austin area, OTOH, will continue to grow, contributing to
>urban sprawl, making Austin more like Houston and Dallas, those wonderful
>Texas cities that so many of us Austinites originally moved away from.

Well, the problem is that Austin is going to grow. There is really
nothing we can do about that. The population of the state and the
country is growing. And magnet areas like Austin are going to
continue to grow at an even higher rate. If Austin continues to
pursue it's no-growth policies then people will find other ways
to build, such as revoking Austin's annexation powers. This is
bad for Austin, but Austin has brought it on itself by acting
unreasonably towards the developers that Austin requires to expand
its tax base.

>So, in the most perverse way I can imagine, taking away Austin's annexation
>powers *will* limit the growth of the area, but only at the expense of
>the quality of life that has drawn so many businesses here in the first
>place. Ironic, ain't it?

> _ J o e l I r b y ir...@jabar.sps.mot.com

Taking away Austin annexation powers will not limit growth, but it
will limit Austin's ability to regulate that growth. The quality of
life will decrease, but it will still always be better than Dallas
or Houston. The quality of life in Austin right now is alot less
than it was 25 years ago, but it is still a magnet.

--
Russell Spence Austin, Texas

"Without music life would be a mistake." - Nietzsche

wharfie

unread,
Apr 4, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/4/95
to
In article <1995Apr4.1...@integrity.uucp> jo...@mpd.tandem.com (John Fedor) writes:
>the only time I get near RR is to go THROUGH it

Too bad. There's a little place by the Methodist church that
makes the best donuts in the country.

Kevin Langston

unread,
Apr 5, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/5/95
to
wr...@unisql.unisql.com (wharfie) writes:
>jo...@mpd.tandem.com (John Fedor) writes:
>>the only time I get near RR is to go THROUGH it
>
> Too bad. There's a little place by the Methodist church that
>makes the best donuts in the country.
>

Shhhhhhh! The lines are already long enough...

Uh, John. That's the Methodist Church on 2222 at 360. Right wharfie?

--
Kevin Langston
lang...@frontier.lonestar.org
"Envy is a powerful tool in the hand of a tyrant."

wharfie

unread,
Apr 5, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/5/95
to
In article <1995Apr5.0...@frontier.lonestar.org> lang...@frontier.lonestar.org (Kevin Langston) writes:
> Shhhhhhh! The lines are already long enough...

Don't matter. I hear they won't sell any donuts to people
from Travis County. They're mad about the way all those folks breathe
Round Rock air and don't pay any taxes for it.


Stirling S Dodd

unread,
Apr 5, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/5/95
to
In article <3lubro$1...@rambler.unisql.com>, wr...@unisql.unisql.com
(wharfie) wrote:

Warfie,

I'm curious... do you live in Austin or Round Rock or elsewhere? From your
hiking trails debate I had figured you to be an Austinite, but by this donut
thread I am not sure.

Not that it matters, just seemed funny to me.

--
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
S Dod^2 | "Do what you do but know why you're doing it"---GBH
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

wharfie

unread,
Apr 5, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/5/95
to
In article <dodd-05049...@reliant.arlut.utexas.edu> do...@cayman.asg.arlut.utexas.edu (Stirling S Dodd) writes:
>I'm curious... do you live in Austin or Round Rock or elsewhere?

Yes.


Joel Irby

unread,
Apr 5, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/5/95
to
In article h...@digdug.pencom.com, ro...@pencom.com (Robin D. Wilson) writes:
>In article <D6BK6...@oakhill.sps.mot.com> ir...@zinger.sps.mot.com (Joel
>Irby) writes:

>:So you think the council will be able to provide cheaper city services

>:with less money (a shrinking percentage of the area's tax base) and a
>:greater demand for those services due to growth in Austin's suburbs?
>:Is this sort of like Voodoo Economics?
>

>Where did you get the idea that they get _less_ money because the suburban
>tax base increases?

They get *less* money because they get much less tax money from the
increasing suburban tax base, while at the same time, the urban tax
base shrinks due to decreasing quality of life in the city (as explained
below). My apologies for not explaining my reasoning in my earlier post.


> Is this sort of like "new math"? As _all_ property
>values increase, and sales revenues within the city's limits increase, and
>business values within the city's limits increase -- so does the city's
>revenues. Since when is there a "zero-sum" value for the entire region
>(i.e., if value goes up in one place, there will be a corresponding drop in
>value elsewhere)?

I never intended to say that the city's revenues would decrease. I meant
that revenues would not *increase fast enough* to keep up with increasing
demands on city services. Also note that I said "a shrinking percentage of
the area's tax base". In that phrase, the adjective "shrinking" modifies
the word "percentage", not the words "tax base". The area's tax base will
almost certainly increase, and big-time, too, if we're lucky enough to
avoid another 1980's-style bust.

>:> The less money they can waste, the better off the whole


>:>region will be. The differential tax rates between Austin and
>:>the burbs should tend to limit the growth of COA.
>:
>:No, lack of annexation powers will limit the growth of Austin's city
>:limits. The Austin area, OTOH, will continue to grow, contributing to
>:urban sprawl, making Austin more like Houston and Dallas, those wonderful
>:Texas cities that so many of us Austinites originally moved away from.
>

>??! And annexation will stop this?

I never said that, either. Annexation is a tool that cities can use to reduce
the negative effects of urban sprawl, not to stop it or reverse its course.
Austin allegedly has a "compact city" growth plan that depends on the central
city's ability maintain a high quality of life that will keep attracting
residents and businesses. To maintain a high quality of life within the
Austin city limits, the city has to continue to deliver city services
(including but not limited to adequately-staffed police and fire departments,
well-maintained parks and roads).

As the Austin area grows, those city services will be strained by more and
more people using them. Good old-fashioned math (not "new" math) shows
that it will be harder for Austin to maintain current levels of service if
it is denied revenue from areas that would have been annexed. (This assumes
that current spending patterns continue, and since they are the result of
years of lobbying by powerful interest groups, they probably will, IMO).


>:So, in the most perverse way I can imagine, taking away Austin's annexation

>:powers *will* limit the growth of the area, but only at the expense of
>:the quality of life that has drawn so many businesses here in the first
>:place. Ironic, ain't it?
>

>Not "ironic" -- just an incorrect result based on a specious premise. (You
>even stated that the area will continue to grow like "Houston and Dallas" --
>sort of contradictory to yourself...)

No, it isn't contradictory at all, if you consider that there is more than
one kind of growth. In one scenario, Austin's future growth could be out-
wards, much like Houston's or Dallas'. In a second scenario, the central
city could continue to be redeveloped and the east side revitalized. The
two scenarios are not necessarily incompatible but would become moreso if
Austin's annexation powers are taken away, for the reasons given above.
I think the only compromise that will come close to satisfying all residents
of the Austin area is a balance of the above two scenarios, with a vital
city center that is resistant to urban decay and suburbs that realize that
their economic health is tied to that of the central city.

P.S. These are such complex issues that simple slogans and simple solutions
are really useless. Does anybody know how to apply chaos theory to this
kind of stuff? (Seriously. :-)
---
----------------------------------------------------------------------


_ J o e l I r b y ir...@jabar.sps.mot.com

wharfie

unread,
Apr 6, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/6/95
to
In article <D6Ku...@oakhill.sps.mot.com> ir...@zinger.sps.mot.com writes:
>while at the same time, the urban tax
>base shrinks due to decreasing quality of life in the city

So why don't they work on making Austin a nicer place to live
instead of trying to figure out ways to tax people in Round Rock?


Don House

unread,
Apr 6, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/6/95
to
In article 3654@rpp386, jfh@rpp386 (John F. Haugh II) writes:
In article <3lp5an$a...@newsgate.sps.mot.com> ho...@oakhill.sps.mot.com writes:
>In article 23346@rpp386, jfh@rpp386 (John F. Haugh II) writes:
>>Looks like we both agree on the validity of your source's opinion.

>The only people who respect the Spaceman are the liberal flunkies
>who drool over the editorial pages then insist that the Spaceman is
>the mouthpiece of the right ...

Sooo.. You are quoting a source that you yourself have no respect
for? Interesting tactic. Or were you refering to yourself in the above
statement? :^)

>
>That still doesn't change the fact that the MUDs agreed to future annexation when they
>asked Austin for access to their services. I say the MUDs should honor their word.

For starters, agreements are made in the legal domain of "good faith". The
city is operating in BAD FAITH (which is a legal concept, not just an opinion
of mine) when it increases taxes and reduces services. When either party to
an agreement acts in bad faith, calling the validity of the agreement into
question is certainly reasonable.

I'll bite, what taxes has the city increased, and what services has the
city decreased? You can't be acting in bad faith when you say at some future point
you intend to act on an agreement. If the city ever annexes CCR(just as an example)
and then raises taxes and decreases services, you might have a point. But to say
well we won't honor our word because we think you won't honor yours doesn't cut it.
The MUDs are basically saying we needed your services when we made that agreement,
but we don't need them now so all bets are off. Are any of the MUDs willing to pay
off their MUD debt completely in exchange for not being annexed? I doubt it.


--
>John F. Haugh II [ NRA-ILA ] [ Kill Barney ] !'s: ...!cs.utexas.edu!rpp386!jfh
>Ma Bell: (512) 251-2151 [GOP][DoF #17][PADI][ENTJ] @'s: j...@rpp386.cactus.org

---

Don House (Gone skiing)

Sheilagh M.B.E. O'Hare

unread,
Apr 6, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/6/95
to
wharfie <wr...@unisql.unisql.com> wrote:
> So why don't they work on making Austin a nicer place to live
>instead of trying to figure out ways to tax people in Round Rock?

If Austin isn't a nicer place to live, then why do people MOVE here from
elsewhere? Or do you mean that we should improve life to such an idyllic
quality that only the richest people will be worthy of living here? Or
to perhaps make it worth the while of the most affluent of suburbanites. There
is no *they*..it is only us, you, me, everyone in the area who has to help
maintain and improve an urban area that I hope you can agree we both love.

Yes, the city council needs curbing.. they certianly haven't made friends
over SOS.
I've got to dig out my book on Austin, but there have been claims
to the fragility & need for cooperation to keep Austin beautiful for a full
*century* (1890 is the date on the quote, but I don't recall the wording right
now).

However, if people are unwilling to be under the heel of the utmost evil that
is CoA, then why should their opinions regarding our mayor be heard? So that
we can lure them in with 'good faith'?? Hmm. Doesn't seem like that has
necessarily been a gameplan that has benefitted the cirt so far (regarding
the MUDs and annexation). How to earn the right to complain... without
voting? without taking up the emotional burden of worrying that this
fine town (and austin is a big town, even while it's a little city) might
not retain a more personal charm than Houston or Dallas can claim? What
are the best things to worry about?

sheilagh

wharfie

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Apr 6, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/6/95
to
In article <3m1k0g$1...@bashful.cc.utexas.edu> mar...@bashful.cc.utexas.edu (Sheilagh M.B.E. O'Hare) writes:
>If Austin isn't a nicer place to live, then why do people MOVE here from

Beats me. I moved to Round Rock.


Robin D. Wilson

unread,
Apr 7, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/7/95
to
In article <1995Apr4.1...@integrity.uucp> johnf (johnf) writes:
:In article <3lf9en$f...@digdug.pencom.com>, ro...@pencom.com (Robin D.
Wilson) writes:

:|> In article <1995Mar30....@integrity.uucp> johnf jJohnf) writes:
:|> :So why the hell are you still here ?? Oh, I see, you work
:|> :IN Austin. Hmm. Can;t find a job in P'Ville. So I guess
:|> :that means you are a regular traveler within the city, and
:|> :as such make uses of city propertly and services (a bunch
:|> :of trite denials expected here).
:|>
:|> Other than roads -- which city properties do I use? Which city services
do I
:|> use (outside of those paid by my employer)? No denials -- just not aware
of
:|> any benefits that I'm receiving from the City...
:
:Can you really not figure this out for yourself. Let's start
:with the place you work. Location ?? OK, where does it get
:all the services that provide you with your job. Now, why
:is that company here, could it be incentives, low tax rate,
:now who do you think subsidizes this, not some TAKER that
:lives in P'Ville.

Are you really this thick, or are you faking it to make yourself look thick?
The business where I work _pays_ taxes to stay in Austin. The City _entices_
businesses like mine -- so they will _locate_ here. Why? Because the City
makes _money_ from having businesses located here! (Duh!) If it weren't
this way, do you _really_ beleive that the city wouldn't construct (physical)
barriers to prevent people/businesses from coming here?

The idea is to _get_ business into the city -- this is not a "drain" on the
revenues -- it is a bonus to the revenues.

:|> Or... are you attempting to imply that I couldn't get a job elsewhere?

FYI,
:|> I _had_ a job elsewhere and chose to come here. I came to this region
:|> because of a number of factors. I _like_ the area. I even _like_
Austin.
:|> But if Austin starts getting the idea that it should be more like NYC, or
:|> California -- I'll leave in a minute. (Which is precisely my point --
lots
:|> of people would leave.)
:
:I guess you have a strange way of showing somebody (or something)
:that you do like it.

No. I have _zero_ loyalty to a "City". I am _not_ here for their benefit,
they are here for _my_ benefit. If they don't perform as desired by _me_, I
have every right to live elsewhere -- without feeling one whit of guilt about
it. Societies create government for their mutual benefit -- only when the
government starts to look at the other-way-around do I start looking
elsewhere for a place to live.

:As to Austin getting like NYC or CA, spare me. Austin might


:get like Dallas (full of people that don;t give a shit - ie
:you) but it will never get like New York. All this reactionary
:crap because of SOS and Freeport MacMoran. If this was NY,
:there would never have been a question of whether or not
:FM properies would have gotten what they wanted, they could
:have gotten that and more. Your characterizations about
:Austin versus NY or CA are inane.

Actually the characterizations applied to the "tax" structure proposed by
someone else -- and the suggestion that Austin could be more like NYC. I
_never_ assumed that Austin would end up like NYC -- simply because the
people who live here wouldn't accept such an oppressive -- liberal --
government.

:You know what they say about the door hitting you...

What door -- how many times to I have to say it: "I _don't_ live in Austin.
I've already gone through the door."

:|> :I agree with the other poster. Take Take Take.


:|>
:|> So (as I asked before) what _exactly_ am I "taking"? The air?
:
:Just because you can't see what you TAKE doesn;t mean you
:don't TAKE as much as everybody else. Just means you choose
:to ignore what you do.

"...can't _see_..."?! I haven't asked for "tangible" benefits -- I've asked
for _documented_ benefits. Sure, the City of Austin doesn't come out an pay
me to visit its businesses, so there isn't any thing I can "hold in my hand"
-- but surely someone of your obviously superior intellect can _describe_ the
benefits I supposedly receive? If there _actually_are_ any such benefits...

BTW, the fact that my chosen business happens to be here is immaterial.
There are dozens of other nice cities to live in -- all of which have
businesses where I could work, and all of which could provide the same
standard of living I have here. So unless you can describe some compelling
reason why "Austin" is better -- you'd better stick to benefits that are more
defined (like roads, schools, city services, etc.).

Robin D. Wilson

unread,
Apr 7, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/7/95
to
In article <D6D2A...@austin.ibm.com> born...@austin.ibm.com (Mark
Bornheimer) writes:
:
:In article <D6BK6...@oakhill.sps.mot.com>, ir...@zinger.sps.mot.com (Joel
Irby) writes:
:> So you think the council will be able to provide cheaper city services
:> with less money (a shrinking percentage of the area's tax base) and a
:> greater demand for those services due to growth in Austin's suburbs?
:> Is this sort of like Voodoo Economics?
:
:I think this is absoloutly correct. The city will be able to provide
:cheaper services if they have less.

Even though I agree (generally) with Mark on this issue -- I want to point
out (again) the fallacy of the belief that "a smaller _percentage_ of the
'tax base' equates to _less_ taxes". This simply isn't the case. Let me
provide an example:

A city has a tax base of _one_ taxpayer (for argument sake). This
taxpayer pays a tax equivalent to 2% of his income each year. The
first year, he makes $100; and pays $2 in taxes to the city. Now,
a taxpayer arrives -- just outside the city limits. He doesn't pay
any taxes to the city. But the original taxpayer still pays his 2%.
If the original taxpayer makes $110 in the next year, his taxes will
be $2.20. The "revenues" to the city go up. The cost to the city is
still based on services provided to that _single_ taxpayer. Unless
the city is _stupid_, and agrees to provide the same level of
services to the "non-taxpayer" just outside its borders, it has lost
_nothing_ by having this non-resident move in.

Clearly, this is a simplified example. Also, clearly the non-resident will
benefit from certain things that the city does -- most notably, he will have
roads to travel that are of reasonable standards. In a city the size of 1
person, this would be a significant benefit for non-residents to use -- since
a single resident would be paying for all the services, and wouldn't be
likely to see much benefit in having a single "non-resident" visit his city.
However, in a larger sense -- let's say that this "resident" had a business.
And the road improvements he made were useful for people from _miles_ around
to visit his city -- and his business. And the revenue he takes in from his
business increases his income 10 fold. Suddenly, the city has the income
from $1000 per year (which is $20 in taxes for the city). So it too has seen
a tenfold increase in it revenue to handle the traffic, and to maintain its
services (the road).

Simple economics.

Robin D. Wilson

unread,
Apr 7, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/7/95
to
In article <D6Ku...@oakhill.sps.mot.com> ir...@zinger.sps.mot.com (Joel
Irby) writes:
:In article h...@digdug.pencom.com, ro...@pencom.com (Robin D. Wilson) writes:
:>
:>Where did you get the idea that they get _less_ money because the suburban
:>tax base increases?
:
:They get *less* money because they get much less tax money from the
:increasing suburban tax base, while at the same time, the urban tax
:base shrinks due to decreasing quality of life in the city (as explained
:below). My apologies for not explaining my reasoning in my earlier post.

The "increasing suburban tax base" does not affect the tax revenues within
the city. If it did, then growing populations in Mexico would likewise
affect the tax revenues in the US. Total nonsense. However, it would appear
that you argument is based on the premise that people will _leave_ the city,
and the urban decay will cause a reduction in tax revenues. Is this what you
mean? If so, who in their right mind would propose a solution that chases
people away from your city? (Which is how this entire thread got started in
the first place.) I'd think you'd want to concentrate your efforts on making
life within the city limits "better" than life in the suburban areas --
rather than just annexing the suburbs to pay for the inner city debacles.

:> Is this sort of like "new math"? As _all_ property

:>values increase, and sales revenues within the city's limits increase, and
:>business values within the city's limits increase -- so does the city's
:>revenues. Since when is there a "zero-sum" value for the entire region
:>(i.e., if value goes up in one place, there will be a corresponding drop in
:>value elsewhere)?
:
:I never intended to say that the city's revenues would decrease. I meant
:that revenues would not *increase fast enough* to keep up with increasing
:demands on city services. Also note that I said "a shrinking percentage of
:the area's tax base". In that phrase, the adjective "shrinking" modifies
:the word "percentage", not the words "tax base". The area's tax base will
:almost certainly increase, and big-time, too, if we're lucky enough to
:avoid another 1980's-style bust.

Actually, you did say "decrease" (and I think I recall "less money" being in
there too). Nonetheless, if you intended to mean "won't increase fast
enough", I'll take you at your word. Even a smaller "percentage" of a bigger
pie can be a bigger slice of pie...

As for the belief that they won't increase "fast enough" -- then I'd suggest
you figure out where all that money is going. If people are leaving your
city in large caravans, and you can't keep up with the demand from a smaller
population -- perhaps it is time to hire a better manager?

:>:No, lack of annexation powers will limit the growth of Austin's city


:>:limits. The Austin area, OTOH, will continue to grow, contributing to
:>:urban sprawl, making Austin more like Houston and Dallas, those wonderful
:>:Texas cities that so many of us Austinites originally moved away from.
:>
:>??! And annexation will stop this?
:
:I never said that, either. Annexation is a tool that cities can use to
reduce
:the negative effects of urban sprawl, not to stop it or reverse its course.
:Austin allegedly has a "compact city" growth plan that depends on the
central
:city's ability maintain a high quality of life that will keep attracting
:residents and businesses. To maintain a high quality of life within the
:Austin city limits, the city has to continue to deliver city services
:(including but not limited to adequately-staffed police and fire
departments,
:well-maintained parks and roads).

But this is the entire argument (check with residents of Circle-C). They are
_not_ getting the same level of service that inner-city residents get. They
are having their property values subverted by ridiculous city proclamations
-- that are unsupportable even in court. They are even _paying_ (through
their taxes) to fight for unwinnable stances on ordinances that destroy their
investments. Hmmm... You're right -- Austin is a maggot (little
parasites)... (Oh, I'm sorry -- that was supposed to read "magnet".)

:As the Austin area grows, those city services will be strained by more and


:more people using them. Good old-fashioned math (not "new" math) shows
:that it will be harder for Austin to maintain current levels of service if
:it is denied revenue from areas that would have been annexed. (This assumes
:that current spending patterns continue, and since they are the result of
:years of lobbying by powerful interest groups, they probably will, IMO).

So which "services" are used by non-residents. (I know, I've asked this over
and over -- of course, I _still_ haven't seen a response other than "oh
yeah!".) And why is the city feeling obligated to pay for services for
non-residents (HINT: because they want people to come into town and buy from
their businesses; because that increases their tax revenues -- which
eliminates the argument you had about not having enough money to pay for the
services).

:>Not "ironic" -- just an incorrect result based on a specious premise. (You

:>even stated that the area will continue to grow like "Houston and Dallas"
--
:>sort of contradictory to yourself...)
:
:No, it isn't contradictory at all, if you consider that there is more than
:one kind of growth. In one scenario, Austin's future growth could be out-
:wards, much like Houston's or Dallas'. In a second scenario, the central
:city could continue to be redeveloped and the east side revitalized. The
:two scenarios are not necessarily incompatible but would become moreso if
:Austin's annexation powers are taken away, for the reasons given above.

But you haven't given any reasons. In fact, if you take a look at Austin's
CC -- you'll find that "revitalizing the east side" is pretty low on their
list. Sure they occasionally pay a little lip-service to the residents
there, but how much _action_ have we seen? If the CC had its priorities
straight -- I _doubt_ this would be an issue. People would be fighting a lot
less to avoid annexation if the city showed even a semblance of respect for
their rights.

:I think the only compromise that will come close to satisfying all residents


:of the Austin area is a balance of the above two scenarios, with a vital
:city center that is resistant to urban decay and suburbs that realize that
:their economic health is tied to that of the central city.

I don't think that the second part of your idea is too far off. However, I
believe that it is those ties that cause them to want to assert self control
(i.e., prevent/fight annexation). The City of Austin has shown little regard
for their needs, and they are reasonably disturbed by it.

John F. Haugh II

unread,
Apr 8, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/8/95
to
In article <3m1fob$p...@newsgate.sps.mot.com> ho...@oakhill.sps.mot.com writes:
>In article 3654@rpp386, jfh@rpp386 (John F. Haugh II) writes:
>In article <3lp5an$a...@newsgate.sps.mot.com> ho...@oakhill.sps.mot.com writes:
>>In article 23346@rpp386, jfh@rpp386 (John F. Haugh II) writes:
>>>Looks like we both agree on the validity of your source's opinion.
>
>>The only people who respect the Spaceman are the liberal flunkies
>>who drool over the editorial pages then insist that the Spaceman is
>>the mouthpiece of the right ...
>
> Sooo.. You are quoting a source that you yourself have no respect
> for? Interesting tactic. Or were you refering to yourself in the above
> statement? :^)

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Figure out who said it and why. When
your done doing that, you might figure out why I quoted the Spaceman.

> I'll bite, what taxes has the city increased, and what services has the
> city decreased? You can't be acting in bad faith when you say at some future point
> you intend to act on an agreement. If the city ever annexes CCR(just as an example)
> and then raises taxes and decreases services, you might have a point. But to say
> well we won't honor our word because we think you won't honor yours doesn't cut it.
> The MUDs are basically saying we needed your services when we made that agreement,
> but we don't need them now so all bets are off. Are any of the MUDs willing to pay
> off their MUD debt completely in exchange for not being annexed? I doubt it.

You are completely confused. The MUD doesn't have to make any agreement
in order to be annexed. Annexation is a one way street. The city gets to
decide, whether or not the MUD or other non-MUD entity has a pre-existing
agreement, if and when it annexes a community.

As regards raising taxes and decreasing services, it happens almost every
time a MUD is annexed. The city doesn't annex a MUD until the MUD bonds
are paid off. At that point the MUD taxes decrease by the amount of the
debt service -- no more debt service, no more taxes to fund that debt
service, taxes go down. So in virtually all cases, taxes increase under
annexation and in our case, we would see a several mil increase period as
we are already below the city rate. The second half is harder to call and
basically has to do with MUDs being more "bedroom-ish" and having more
"family" services. For example, we have a swim team and it is supported
by MUD taxes. The city has informed the MUD that they would not, were we
annexed, continue to fund that swim team since that isn't something the
city has to do (though the city does fund public pools and so on). So
as it currently stands, if we are annexed, we will see a decrease in
services. We currently contract for police and fire (as well as water,
sewerage, and waste disposal). We have MUD-supported recycling and
composting as well as a MUD-supported community garden. All of these
services would see a decrease (or be completely eliminated under City of
Austin governance) were we annexed.

You are perfectly free to verify all of this. Our milage rate is a matter
of public record. I live in Wells Branch MUD. You can contact our MUD
office (listed in the white pages) and verify the community services that
I've claimed.

Joel Irby

unread,
Apr 10, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/10/95
to
>>while at the same time, the urban tax
>>base shrinks due to decreasing quality of life in the city
>
> So why don't they work on making Austin a nicer place to live
>instead of trying to figure out ways to tax people in Round Rock?

Normally I don't respond to clueless posts such as this one, but today I'll
make an exception. FWIW, Austinites *are* trying to make Austin a nicer
place to live. In fact, we think it already has some nice qualities that
we'd like to preserve.

BTW, nobody is trying to impose Austin taxes on Round Rock residents, unless
you mean the extra 1.25% Cap-Metro sales tax collected by Austin businesses
when a Round Rock resident buys something in Austin. Round Rock, being a
separate city, is naturally immune to annexation by Austin.

wharfie

unread,
Apr 10, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/10/95
to
In article <D6tz3...@oakhill.sps.mot.com> ir...@zinger.sps.mot.com writes:
>Austinites *are* trying to make Austin a nicer place to live.

Then how come they still have all those bicycles on Barton Creek?


Stirling S Dodd

unread,
Apr 11, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/11/95
to
In article <3mc110$8...@rambler.unisql.com>, wr...@unisql.unisql.com
(wharfie) wrote:

Um... I believe the bicycles are on the trails *along side* Barton Creek.
Ocaisionally I see people try to ride their bicycles *on* Barton Creek,
but they usually sink and fall over.

Furthermore, IMHO one thing that makes Austin a nicer place to live is the
right to bicycle on so many of Austin's trails.

leebert

unread,
Apr 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM4/27/95
to

> Actually, the threat is not to our drinking water supply but to our water-
> ways in general. Austin gets most of its drinking water from the highland
> lakes, i.e. the ones formed when the Colorado River was dammed. San Antonio

Joel, this is inaccurate to say the least. During the dry summer months,
50% of Austin's drinking water comes from Barton Springs / Creek.

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