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Election 2019: Austin rejects local props, votes for Expo Center proposal

Hotel-tax votes were really about land issues.

A photo of part of a matte black car fender with a white oval sticker that reads “Yo Voté” (“I voted”)  in blue letters and has an image of American flag on it.
Austin voted.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Austin voters struck down two local propositions but gave the okay to a Travis County proposal when they went to the polls Tuesday.

Land-use issues—specifically regarding sports stadiums and the expansion of the Austin Convention Center and the Travis County Expo Center—were at the heart of the propositions, some of which were also connected to hotel occupancy taxes in the city and (potentially) the county.

Local voters swatted down both petition-instigated proposals directly related to Austin by resounding margins, KXAN reported on its website Wednesday. Proposition A, which would have required public votes on future use of city-owned land and required property taxes of bodies that leased the land, lost with 64 percent of voters voting “no” and the other 36 percent voting in favor.

Voters struck down Austin’s Proposition A, a petition-led ordinance that would have forced public votes on most future uses of city-owned land and made the organizations that lease those lands – frequently nonprofits – pay property taxes.

Voting came in 44 percent for and at 55 percent against (yes, that’s 99—a few precincts had yet to report) Austin Proposition B, which would have required expansion of the convention center to be put to a public vote. That proposition was also petition-led

Travis County Proposition A, put forth by the county commissioners, was approved by a wide margin, with 62% of voters in favor of and 38 percent against potentially allocating some hotel taxes to expand and remodel the Travis County Expo Center. (Since the city is already charging the maximum allowable rate to pay off its debt on the current convention center, it might be a while before the county sees any of that money.)

Total turnout for the election in Travis County was 122,059, or 15.17% per cent of registered voters, according to the Austin Chronicle.

Other Texas counties had a variety of local issues on their ballots, and voters across the state weighed in on 10 propositions for amendments to the state Constitution.