Voters on Tuesday will decide on Austin’s Proposition A, which calls for elections on any lease of city-owned property for a sports or entertainment venue.
A petition that led to Proposition A earning a place on the ballot gained steam in 2018 after city leaders approved a contract for a stadium to house a Major League Soccer franchise on city-owned land at McKalla Place in North Austin.
Opponents of the measure contend that though Proposition A started as an effort to shutter the city’s contract with MLS, it also could force some of Austin’s most famous and popular venues into dire straits. Proposition A’s passage could mean the city would have to hold elections each time leases for venues such as the Long Center, Zach Theater, Butler Park Pitch & Putt and the North Austin YMCA come up for renewal. Furthermore, those facilities could be subjected to millions in property taxes.
Fair Play Austin, a political action committee backed by the owner of Circuit of the Americas that helped get Proposition A on the ballot, announced in August that it would not campaign for the measure. Spokesman Chris Lippincott said the ballot language drifted too far from its original intention.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce said Proposition A would create an unnecessarily high burden for community groups to pay to use city-owned facilities. The measure also would require action by a supermajority, or nine out of 11 members of the Austin City Council, and approval from voters when a facility’s lease comes up for renewal.
“This ordinance would discourage new community events and recreational sports hosted at city-owned facilities; this is in direct opposition to the active lifestyle cherished by Austin residents,” the chamber said.
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