Southwest Austin - Dripping Springs Edition | July 2020

construction of a 4-5 million-square- foot plant, according to district docu- ments, DVISDagreed to cap the taxable value of Tesla’s project at $80 million. DVISD will still receive $776,000 in annual tax revenue from Tesla, according to the district. Addition- ally, without a tax cap, DVISD’s local tax revenue funding would have exceeded $9,557 per capita, a state threshold that determines if a district will continue to receive state funding or begin pay into Texas’ Robin Hood recapture fund once surpassed. Through that lens, Tesla’s presence in the district will likely shift DVISD into being one of the wealthier dis- tricts generating recapture funding. Additionally, DVISDwill receive cur- riculum and workforce development benets. Many of these opportunities mirror Tesla’s partnerships with school districts near its Nevada gigafactory, including the Washoe County School District in Reno, where sta say Tesla has been a faithful partner. “Tesla said: ‘If you need it, let us know, and we’ll do what we can to support and fund that out,’” Joshua Hartzog, director of career and tech- nical education for WCSD, told Com- munity Impact Newspaper. Tesla’s partnership with WCSD is most closely tied to the district’s edg- ling robotics program, for which Tesla funded a robotics coordinator that col- laborates with other school districts across Nevada. According to Hartzog, Tesla has also given WCSD teachers training opportunities to lead robotics classes, and is working toward imple- menting automated manufacturing curriculum in district schools. The Nevada gigafactory hired 46 Nevada high school graduates directly in 2019, including several WCSD graduates. DVISD, too, has been promised a pipeline for graduates to be employed by Tesla, but some labor groups have voiced concerns about protections for

these future laborers. “How much is a young high school graduate going to be able to push back in terms of safety issues, in terms of worker rights?” United Auto Workers representative Manuel Quinto-Pozos told Community Impact Newspaper . Tesla representatives have said there would be opportunities to pre- pare students for the workplace. “We haven’t even imagined the things [our students] are capable of,” DVISD board President Rebecca Birch said. “For a district, this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things.” Sealing the deal Until Tesla’s July 22 announcement, Tulsa continued to make a play for the gigafactory. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt was vocal that Tulsa holds a more pro-business attitude than Austin, pointing to criticisms from labor rep- resentatives in the Texas capital. However, most local labor repre- sentatives have said they welcome Tesla and its jobs moving into one of the poorer areas of Travis County. What they want, according to Workers Defense Policy Director Jessica Wol, is to ensure the company will oer a “true benet” to the community. “I think what our community really needs is not only 5,000 jobs, but 5,000 good, safe jobs,” Wol told Commu- nity Impact Newspaper . Patel said he appreciated these voices for holding Tesla accountable. “[This site] has risen to the top because of you all and because of the clear passion of your community,” Patel said prior to the announcement. “You’re going to hold us accountable if we choose this site, and you’re going to work with us to make this the best possible site we could come up with.”

COMPANY INCENTIVES

TRAVIS COUNTY TAKES THE WHEEL

Travis County’s economic incentives package oers Tesla rebates on maintenance and operations property taxes if Tesla invests at least $1.1 billion in the property. The rebate is structured to incentivize higher investment.

TESLA DONATES 10%OF PREINCENTIVE TAX VALUE TO LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS

TESLA INVESTMENTS

FIRST $1.1 BILLION

SECOND $1 BILLION

THIRD $1 BILLION

50%

75% TAX REBATE

70% TAX REBATE

80% TAX REBATE

OF JOBS WILL GO TO COUNTY RESIDENTS

We are talking about a transformational process that will address poverty and opportunity in that area for generations. Je Travillion, Precinct 1 commissioner

Del Valle ISD’s agreement with Tesla caps the company’s taxable value at $80 million, allowing the company to only pay district taxes on a small portion of its property value. The district, however, would still see tax revenues and benets. DEL VALLE ISD IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT

VALUE CAPPED AT $80 MILLION

ESTIMATED VALUE: $773 MILLION+

$0 $100M $200M $300M $400M $500M $600M $700M $800M

With the tax cap, the district would still receive annual tax revenue from Tesla without being subject to Texas recapture payments to the state.

For a district, this is one of those once-in- a-lifetime things. Rebecca Birch, president, Del Valle ISD board of trustees

For more information, visit communityimpact.com .

SOURCES: DEL VALLE ISD, TRAVIS COUNTY COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

DESIGNED BY JAY JONES

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • JULY 2020

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