Senate committee considers bill that could kill Austin MLS stadium deal

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The controversy swirling around a planned Major Leauge Soccer stadium in Austin spilled into the state capitol Tuesday.  Members of the Senate Property Tax committee heard testimony on a bill that could kill the deal between the city of Austin and Precourt Sports Venture — the group that owns the rights for a Major League Soccer team in Austin. 

Senate Bill 1771 targets the portion of the agreement that lets PSV build a 20,000-seat stadium on city-owned land without having to pay property taxes on the building. According to the deal, the stadium would be built on a 24-acre parcel of land at 10414 McKalla Place

Opposers of the stadium say Travis County, Austin ISD and other entities also collect property taxes but didn’t have a say in the city’s decision to give PSV a property tax exemption. 

“Why should the city of Austin be able to dictate what property is going to be exempt for purposes of the school district? ” said Attorney Bill Aleshire who testified in support of SB 1771. 

Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who supported the stadium deal, argues the agreement doesn’t harm AISD or any other taxing entities because they aren’t collected taxes on the property now.  

READ ALSO: City certifies petition calling for vote on planned MLS stadium 

“That’s a piece of property that is owned by the city that will never generate taxes under any scenario. If it’s not a stadium there, it would be put to affordable housing use or some other use that does not generate property taxes,” Adler said. 

Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) authored the bill. He chairs the Property Tax committee which could give the bill an easier path to the Senate floor.  It’s unclear whether it has enough support to pass a full Senate vote. 

If passed, the bill could kill the stadium deal because part of the deal allowed for PSV to back out of the deal if it does not get tax exempt status. 

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