BG Note | News - What We're Reading (March 12, 2018)

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[Austin Metro]

Council wants action on city-owned vacant lots (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

City Council is looking to more than a dozen city-owned properties as opportunities to provide affordable housing, arts spaces, parkland and economic development, in some cases looking to emulate past developments on public land, such as Mueller and Seaholm.

City staff has identified five sites as top candidates for major redevelopment that could have a big impact in addressing Council’s priorities, explained Lauraine Rizer, who heads the Office of Real Estate Services, at a March 6 Council work session...


Yet another Domain-like development on tap for Austin area (Austin Business Journal) LINK TO STORY

Another major development is pegged for the booming north side of the Austin region, this one in the suburb of Cedar Park.
Thompson Morris Real Estate Development, a local developer that has largely focused on residential neighborhoods, is a step closer to turning dirt for Indigo Ridge North after the Cedar Park City Council approved changes March 8 to a plan for 126 acres at the northwest corner of East Whitestone Boulevard (FM 1431) and Sam Bass Road (County Road 175)...

Austin Film Scene Keeps Plugging Along, Without Competitive State Incentives (KUT) LINK TO STORY

State-sponsored film incentives are a big driver of the entertainment industry these days. States like Georgia and Louisiana have beefed up their programs, luring big projects away from states that have curbed their programs – like Texas.
The State of Texas has provided $22 million through the Texas Moving Image Incentive Program (TMIIP) to help shows like AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead film here. And while $22 million sounds like a lot, it’s down more than 75 percent from its peak of $95 million in state rebates available just a few years ago...

[STATE]

Hiring gets tough for San Antonio employers as labor pool tightens (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

San Antonio’s booming housing market and the nation’s strongest-in-years economy has made it hard for Jon Wayne Service Co. to hire enough workers to keep pace with growing demand. It’s not just new and rebuilt homes in need of heating and air conditioning services. Residents citywide and across the nation are feeling more secure about job and income prospects, which can mean finally tackling repairs that had been put on hold. That’s why recruiter Mercy Grimaldo was working a booth at a recent job fair at the Norris Conference Centers, looking for heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical specialists as well as workers for dispatch, the call center and information technology...

State Rep. Roland Gutierrez to seek Carlos Uresti's seat in Texas Senate (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

State Rep. Roland Gutierrez is running for Texas Senate District 19, a Democratic-leaning San Antonio district that overlaps with his own.
The only problem: That seat is still held by state Sen. Carlos Uresti, who has resisted calls to resign from Democrats and Republicans alike since he was convicted weeks ago of 11 felonies. And there isn’t an election set for the seat until 2020...

D-FW outsells the rest of the country when it comes to houses (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

Dallas-Fort Worth sold more houses last year than anyplace in the country, with more than 134,000 houses changing hands. North Texas accounted for almost a third of the state's total preowned home purchases — more than 102,000 properties. And builders sold almost 32,000 new homes. So far, even record prices haven't put a lid on D-FW's home buys. One of the country's top housing analysts I talked with this week expects the hot home market to keep going as long as our economy stays on track...

With thousands of Texans waiting, experiment with post-Harvey housing helps far fewer than expected (Houston Chronicle) LINK TO STORY

Last summer, tasked with helping displaced Texans find safe places to live after one of the nation’s worst floods, the Federal Emergency Management Agency decided to experiment. Rather than muscling up its program for short-term housing, FEMA called on the state of Texas to help find trailers, lease apartments and repair flood victims’ homes. But the effort, led by Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, has been hogtied in a web of paperwork, legal wrangling and efforts to increase staffing, interviews and a Houston Chronicle examination of local, state and federal records show. It took nearly a month for FEMA to ask for help and to work out an agreement with Bush’s office. Another five months later, the state General Land Office has added 33 disaster recovery workers, after initially saying it needed 90...

[NATION]

Trump unveils 2020 campaign slogan: 'Keep America Great!' (The Hill) LINK TO STORY

President Trump unveiled his 2020 campaign slogan, “Keep America Great!” on Saturday night. Trump made the announcement while speaking at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania in support of GOP House candidate Rick Saccone. “Our new slogan when we start running in, can you believe it, two years from now, is going to be ‘Keep America Great!' " he said to cheers. Trump announced his 2020 campaign last month, naming former digital adviser Brad Parscale as his campaign manager. The new slogan will replace “Make America Great Again,” Trump’s four-word 2016 slogan that has appeared on red baseball caps, on signs and in speeches for the past two years...

The Bingham Group, LLC is an Austin-based full service lobbying firm representing and advising clients on municipal, legislative, and regulatory matters throughout Texas.

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