BG Note | News - What We're Reading (January 24, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Mayor Adler Says Austin Has 'Opened Door' For Serious Conversation With Amazon (KUT) LINK TO STORY

Austin is on the short list of cities Amazon might choose to host its second headquarters. But just what would bringing the huge ecommerce company do for Austin?

In a letter to Amazon last year, Mayor Steve Adler called it an “opportunity for a precedent-setting partnership.”

KUT's Jennifer Stayton sat down with Adler to talk about the potential he sees if Amazon were to pick Austin...

[Editorial] Abbott shouldn’t mess with Austin’s success (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Gov. Greg Abbott wants to have it both ways: Proclaiming Austin’s success as one of two Texas cities that made it to the elite 20 — the cities Amazon named last week as finalists for the tech giant’s second headquarters, called Amazon HQ2.
Meanwhile, doing all he can — along with his self-described wingman, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — to wreck the very business, environmental and social climate that is so appealing to Amazon and a slew of other tech companies that have flocked to Austin...

Audit: Lax oversight in city savings program (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City employees overseeing a program to help low-income residents pay for school, buy a home or start a business failed to provide the oversight necessary to prevent waste of city and federal dollars, according to a draft audit from the Office of the City Auditor.
The program, called the Matched Savings Account, allows participants to receive up to eight times the amount they have saved, for a maximum match of $4,000 per person and $8,000 per household...

Ex-Whole Foods exec: Amazon deal was best for company’s future (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Walter Robb says it’s clear Amazon was the best option for Whole Foods Market’s future.

The former Whole Foods co-CEO, now an investor in other food companies, said leaders at the grocer made the best possible decision in selling the company to the online retailer at a time when investors were calling for change. Amazon completed its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods in August...

Austin’s Main Street Hub being sold to GoDaddy for $125 million (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

GoDaddy is acquiring Main Street Hub, an Austin-based online marketing firm, in a $125 million cash deal. As part of the deal, Main Street Hub could also earn up to $50 million in potential future earnouts.
Founded in 2010, Main Street Hub manages social, web and email marketing for small businesses...


Drought returns to Texas just months after Hurricane Harvey floods state (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

Billy Bob Brown has been farming in the Amarillo area for nearly half a century, and this is the longest dry spell he's ever seen.

The region hasn't received measurable rainfall in more than 100 days, according to the National Weather Service, and Brown is worried about the fate of his crops. He already can't grow corn because it's been so dry. 

“I remember when I was growing up in the 50s and there was three years of drought," said Brown, who is 78. “This is the worst I’ve seen since then.”... 

Analysis: Texas’ most persistent policy problem (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

You can’t untangle school finance in Texas unless you do one of three politically dangerous things:
  • Cut spending on public education.
  • Raise local property taxes to keep up with growth and rising costs.
  • Raise state spending (and state taxes) to keep up with costs while keeping local property taxes down.
State lawmakers cut spending in 2011. Texans didn’t like it much, and the state has, to this day, never recovered the even balance of state and local spending it had set just five years before those cuts...


Trump nominates four federal judges for Texas, including another Paxton aide to replace controversial 'Satan's plan' nominee (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

President Donald Trump nominated four candidates Tuesday to fill vacant federal judge posts in Texas, including Campbell Barker, deputy solicitor general in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office. The four Texans were part of 12 nominees sent to the Senate by Trump on Tuesday for judge positions across the country. Thursday also marked the 10th wave of conservative candidates the president has nominated for court vacancies. If confirmed by the Senate, Barker, Jeremy Kernodle and Michael Truncale will fill the three remaining vacancies in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas — one of the busiest courts in the country. The district extends from Denton and Collin counties to Beaumont in southeast Texas...

Trump nominee Powell overwhelmingly confirmed as Fed chair (Politico) LINK TO STORY

The Senate on Tuesday ushered in the Donald Trump era at the Federal Reserve, confirming Jerome Powell, the president’s pick to chair the world's most important central bank, in a bipartisan 84-13 vote. Trump chose Powell over outgoing Chair Janet Yellen, breaking with the precedent for presidents to renominate Fed chairs they inherit and continuing his drive to ditch policies and personnel put in place by former President Barack Obama. But Trump's Fed might not be radically different from that of the Obama years. The Fed under Powell will likely continue its path of steady interest rate increases — three are projected for 2018 — and cautious removal of its decadelong extraordinary support for the U.S. economy...

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