Citizens stage protest rally against St. David’s HealthCare for sponsoring Austin’s Major League Soccer team.
AUSTIN, Texas, June 12, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today at 11:30 a.m. CST, the neighborhood group Friends of McKalla Place will hold a protest rally at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center to denounce the healthcare provider’s sponsorship of Precourt Sports Venture, Austin FC, and the proposed MLS soccer stadium.
Precourt Sports Ventures (PSV), Austin FC (MLS soccer team) will not pay property taxes that are sorely needed to fund health and social services for indigent care. “It’s disappointing that St. David’s has chosen to sponsor this speculative venture fueled by corporate welfare, greed, and political motivations. This is not the type of corporate citizens that Austin respects nor the values or the moral principles of our community. Precourt’s property tax exemption is a gross social inequity that will impact our children, our poor, and working families for the next 50 years,” said a group’s representative.
The PSV’s stadium deal is the single largest corporate welfare packages in Austin’s history. Opposition to their property tax exemption is a widespread sentiment in Austin. Earlier this year, Friends of McKalla filed a ballot petition with 29,000 signatures of registered voters calling for a public vote to prohibit a for-profit business tax free use of public land. The petition was certified by the City Clerk and is expected to be on the November ballot.
As Austin faces an affordable housing crisis, high property taxes, and budget shortfalls, citizens are not accepting of the lucrative land deal offered to the California billionaire. “This deal is a poor policy decision and it places a huge burden on Austin taxpayers just so Precourt can turn a profit on his professional sports team,” said a representative of Friends of McKalla.
Prominent community leaders are also concerned with the social inequity of the incentive package, the lack of funding for area infrastructure, and flooding risks to neighbors and small businesses in the area. Nelson Linder, President of Austin NAACP, states “It’s important for St. David’s to send a consistent message by not supporting corporations that avoid paying their fair share of taxes.”
Friends of McKalla Place is an informal, grassroots organization that believes in social equity, fair taxation, and the environmental protection of public land. The group includes neighborhood leaders, civic and business leaders.
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