Simon No Deal

RECEIVED Tue., Oct. 7, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Since Simon Property Group, one of the largest corporations in the world, launched its half-million-dollar campaign and unveiled its arguments about why it should receive our tax dollars, its campaign messages raise more questions than they answer.
    The "Keep Austin's Word" campaign never claims that Simon has kept its word to the public on things like living-wage jobs or open space. In fact, they openly admit that they have not provided the jobs or open space that they promised the people of Austin.
    Instead, the campaign focuses on legal technicalities claiming that Simon has met all of its legal obligations.
    What does this mean? The city has met all of its legal obligations to Simon also. Simon agreed to a "deal" (in a legal settlement) that the city has no duty to pay them in the future – which raises an interesting question about their slogan "a deal is a deal." Is Simon going back on its "deal" now, claiming that the city has a some kind of legal obligation to give it our tax dollars?
    Austin taxpayers get to decide this time. Last time, the public had one week's notice before Simon's tax incentives were granted. This time we get to choose whether it is in our best interest to give tens of millions of our hard-earned tax dollars to a corporation that has not kept its word to the people of Austin.
    Would you rather give your tax dollars to one of the world's largest corporations, or would you prefer that our local emergency services, libraries, parks, social services, and roads benefit from your money?
Ann del Llano
   [Editor's note: According to its campaign finance report filed October 6, Keep Austin's Word PAC (which opposes Prop. 2) has collected $53,750, of which $10,000 was contributed by Simon Property Group, owner of the Domain.]
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