Liveable City to Release Study of Austin’s Incentive Programs

Study shows Council Approves over $100 Million in Tax Deals in last 10 years,

City budget deficit, charter election vote in November

(Austin, Texas) Liveable City, Austin’s, will release a report entitled - Building a More Sustainable Economy: Economic Development Strategy and the Use of Public Incentives in Austin. On Monday, May 27, at 11:00 am, at the of City Hall.

The report reveals the city and chamber have done many things well, significant reform is needed to position Austin for the challenges ahead.

The report shows that in just the last ten years, Austin City Councils have approved over $100 million dollars for a variety of incentives to private businesses as part the city's overall economic development strategy. There is no way from public recoeds to determine where the tax money has gone and what we have got for it,

But for many who live here, it is not clear where Austin's economic development strategy comes from, how it is implemented, or what institutions and actors shape our economic development policies and programs. 

This report examines fundamental questions about incentives: Why should public money be given to private firms? How much are we giving? And what are we getting in return? It illuminates the role of incentives in our larger economic landscape and tracks the current process - how the city decides if and what kind of incentives it will offer. Finally, the report identifies six major reforms needed to ensure a unified, sustainable economic strategy and to better position Austin for the challenges ahead.

The report was prepared for Liveable City by Professor, Michael Oden, of the Community and Regional Planning Program of the University of Texas at Austin.  In conjunction with national and local experts and members of the Liveable City Board.

Reforms: 

  • Community process
  • Cost benefit analysis
  • Unified incentive budget
  • Reform process
  • Reform goals and policies
  • Sustainable development

About Liveable City:

Founded in 2002 by a diverse alliance of public policy experts and seasoned community advocates, Liveable City promotes broad community collaboration on urban quality of life issues. Our mission is to address Austin’s long-term social, environmental, and economic needs by focusing on the interconnected issues confronting our rapidly growing city. For more information or to review previous studies go to www.liveablecity.org.