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Fri., Dec. 14, 2012

A crowd gathers outside Sen. John Cornyn's office on Dec. 10. The protesters sought the renewal of tax cuts for the middle class, and the protection of such social programs as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
A crowd gathers outside Sen. John Cornyn's office on Dec. 10. The protesters sought the renewal of tax cuts for the middle class, and the protection of such social programs as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
Photo by John Anderson

› After last week's marathon session, City Coun­cil meets today (Thursday), the last formal meeting of the year, with plenty to consider: renewed action on affordable housing, potential tweaking of the Barton Springs Zone redevelopment ordinance, and more. See "Council Stoked for Last Meeting of Year."

› On Tuesday, Comptroller Susan Combs announced that Circuit of the Americas will receive $29.3 million to cover costs from Novem­ber's Formula One race, even though her office is still calculating how much revenue it generated. On Thursday, Austin City Council will consider backing COTA's applications for its other big races – MotoGP, V8 Super Cars. American Le Mans Series, and World Endurance Championship. (See "Page Three: Council Follies Are No Joke.")

› The Austin Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday that Visa Inc. will open a new global IT center off Research Boulevard. The deal brings 794 jobs (with an average salary of $96,000) over five years, at a cost of $1.56 million in incentives from the city.

› With time running out for the Medicaid-waiver Women's Health Program, Planned Parent­hood filed two new lawsuits this week, arguing that banning them from providing services to low-income women violates the law. Elsewhere, PP joins with a Valley patient who says she would be left without care if the state goes through with the PP ban. (See "Planned Parent­hood Files New Suit Against Texas," Newsdesk, Dec. 11.)

› In a speech at The Source for Women in Hous­ton, Gov. Rick Perry outlined his goal for the coming legislative session to further curtail women's reproductive rights by banning all abortions after 20 weeks, the point at which Texas Right to Life and its supporters say a fetus can feel pain. The science of that claim is in dispute, but the fact that the war on women will continue at the Capitol in 2013 is not. For more, see "Perry Backs 'Fetal Pain' Bill," Newsdesk, Dec. 12.

› The pace of traffic fatalities in Austin continues to race forward, with the 73rd and 74th of the year happening on Monday, Dec. 10. At this time last year, there had been 50 such deaths.

› As the dry winter and the seemingly endless Texas drought continue, Sens. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, and Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, have asked the Lower Colorado River Author­ity board to reverse its Nov. 14 decision that could see millions of gallons of water drawn from the depleted Highland Lakes and sent to rice farmers in the Valley.

› The "fiscal cliff" (or "slope" or "incline" or "slight perturbation") games continued in D.C., with the Obama administration insisting it will allow all Bush tax cuts to expire if no deal is reached, and the House GOP (Speaker John Boehner) demanding the White House specify cuts to entitlement programs (e.g., Medicare) sought by Republicans – with nothing likely to change before Dec. 31. See "Point Austin: Cliff Diving," Dec. 7.

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