A celebration of a change in tax incentives in Travis County


by SHELTON GREEN / KVUE News and photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheltonG_KVUE


Posted on December 11, 2012 at 11:20 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 11 at 11:21 PM

AUSTIN – A diverse mix of Labor Union representatives, city and county elected officials, faith-based organizations and advocates for fair wages and working conditions came to the Workers Defense Project office Tuesday night for the same purpose.

They united in Northeast Austin to celebrate a move by the county regarding tax incentives, a move many are hoping the city of Austin will follow.

On November 27th, the Travis County Commissioners Court passed a measure which requires that any future business or companies receiving incentives must offer their employees at least $11 an hour.

“We really feel a company that's not willing to pay like $11 an hour isn't a very good candidate for an incentive. There might be exceptions and we'll leave room for that,” said  Bob Batlan with Austin Interfaith.

“Everyone is a beneficiary from this. The reason why companies want to come here so badly is we have a healthy, educated workforce and a beautiful environment that can move their goods and their human resources,” said Travis County Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt.

“They're very large tax breaks that are coming out of every single one of our pockets but we can set rules that some of those investments are brought back to the community through better wages and better jobs,” said Greg Casar with the Workers Defense Project.

There are three Austin City Council members who want to see the city follow the county’s lead. These members are Mike Martinez, Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo.

The entire Austin City Council is expected to tackle the incentive changes issue in January 2013.