Mayor Adler: “I say this every time I come in here; I love this space. I love this addition to the space. I love the energy that you have on the floors, and I love what the Capital Factory has brought to our city, so thank you. I want to say hi to everybody. It’s my opportunity and honor today to introduce the CEO and President of ACC.
“Before I get there, I just want to comment a little about what we have in front of us. I continue to believe that Austin is a magical city for many different reasons, and we are riding a wave right now. There are so many things that are happening in our city. We live in a city that is creating more middle-skill jobs than any city in the country. We live in a city where the unemployment rate is a full point below the state generally, and the country as a whole. There are some incredible things that are happening here. And we’re gonna create 60,000 middle-skill jobs over the next five years. So we have to celebrate all that is happening in our city, but at the same time we also have to notice that this rising tide does not lift all the boats. Some of the boats that people are in have leaks. We live in a city where the cost of housing is going up. When that happens, we begin to hollow out the middle of our city. And with that, the creative energies and sparks that make ours a city that creates art…the danger would be that we hollow out that middle and become a city that just consumes art. And that would not be the Austin, Texas that we all love.
What happened in Charlottesville could happen to any city. In fact it does. Domestic terrorism has killed more Americans since 9/11 than Al Qaeda & ISIS combined.
Austin has a long history of dealing with racism. We were officially segregated in 1928, and an interstate highway was later build on that dividing line. That segregation has led to inequitable outcomes in education, health, and prosperity and led to incidents of police violence.
Even if we mean well – and we do — mayors face the effects of institutional racism every day. We know that the problems might be complicate, but the evidence of racism is clear. Mayors live this problem. This isn’t politics for us. This is what we work on every day.
Mayors are well-situated to lead on this issue. We can tell the good guys from the bad guys. Only two sides to racism: right side of history and the wrong side of history. Only way to find a solution is to face the problem, and the only one who should be carrying a torch is the Statue of Liberty. Continue reading →
“Only four years ago, the State got one third of what the City got. Only three years ago, the State got one half of what the City got. And next year, for the very first time, the State will be taking more than what the City of Austin gets. So to be clear, property taxes are no longer a local property tax. From this day forward, let’s call it what it really is. Ours is a state property tax. And the recent increases by the state of property taxes has been extreme, geometric, and irresponsible.
“Yet in this ‘Alice in Wonderland’ world, state leaders are blaming local governments for their property tax increases, andthat is simply not true. It’s not appropriate. As chairman [Dennis] Bonnen has said so clearly—chair of Ways and Means in the House—the attempt to cap local property taxes has nothing to do with property tax relief. To suggest otherwise is inaccurate, and it’s harmful.
“If the legislature wants to do something about our increasing property taxes, they need to fix their increases in our property tax. They have to hold down this out of control state property tax that citizens and residents of Austin are paying. If the legislature wants to do something about increasing property taxes, they need to fix our broken school finance system. That’s the only thing, the real thing, that people all over our state want our state legislature to do. And it appears to be the only thing they are not doing this special session.”Continue reading →