AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin ISD school board rejected a tax break for a major semiconductor company Thursday night.
After discussing the item, the board struck down the proposal with a narrow vote of 5-4.
It was on the agenda for the board's Dec. 15 meeting and was one of the last Chapter 313 applications AISD had to vote on. The filing and vote came as NXP looks to add a multi-billion dollar expansion in East Austin.
"Our way of life over the past 40 years has become a way of semiconductors, mobile phones, home appliances, vehicles, medical equipment," said Casey Dobson the vice chairman for the Greater Austin Economic Development Corporation's board.
However, some feel the agreement would have taken away money from Austin students and allowed corporations to avoid their tax responsibilities.
"It is everyone's responsibility to pay for our children's education," said Mother Minerva Camarena Skeith with Central Texas Interfaith.
Members of Central Texas Interfaith like Skeith said tax breaks like these leave also leave holes and a greater burden for residents.
"When a corporation gets a tax break, the rest of us have to make up the difference. Just this week, the comptroller confirmed taxpayers pay for 313 tax breaks," claimed Skeith.
But those in favor of the Chapter 313 deal said it stops the state from recapturing so much of Austin ISD's funding. Typically, AISD gives about half of its funding to the state to give to poorer districts.
"It will, as you know, provide over $60 million of new funding that you can use to invest in teachers and students, it is not subject to recapture," said someone in support of approval at Thursday night's board meeting during public comment.
However, Dobson said before the board meeting that if AISD doesn't approve the deal, NXP could take business elsewhere.
"There is little chance of NXP going forward with this project on Ed Bluestein Boulevard in East Austin if the school district doesn't take advantage of the opportunity," said Dobson.
But opponents said the entire Chapter 313 program hurts schools across the state.
"The simple fact is over $1 billion a year is flowing out of state tax revenue and into the bottom lines of often huge, large, multinational corporations with huge profit margins," said Rev. Miles Brandon with Central Texas Interfaith.
Officials on behalf of NXP made it clear the more than $63.5 million investment into AISD would not be open to recapture, so all of that money would be seen by the district.
They claimed there would also be no strings attached to this money so the district is free to use it however they see fit. It also opened up the door for a partnership to give AISD grads jobs out of school.