(Andrei/Adobe Stock)

Travis County commissioners delayed a vote on a multimillion-dollar economic incentives deal with Tesla and gave no indication on when a decision may occur.


The electric carmaker has proposed a $1.1 billion "Gigafactory" in Southeast Austin and, in exchange, is seeking property tax breaks from Travis County over a 20-year period and Del Valle ISD over a 10-year period.

Judge Sam Biscoe said last week that a vote might take place Tuesday, but after discussing it privately with county attorneys in executive session decided to push off the decision.


Tesla looks to fast-track approval of an Austin 'Gigafactory' www.youtube.com


Public comment from both sides

Commissioners did hear public comment Tuesday from Travis County residents who are decidedly mixed on the deal.

Those who support it said it will bring good-paying jobs that are needed in light of the pandemic and will spur further development around the proposed factory site.

"This is not just good news, it's great news, when good news is hard to find," Austin Chamber President and CEO Laura Huffman told commissioners. "These are the jobs we often ask for but sometimes find hard to get."

Others oppose the proposal—or at least believe it could be improved.

Juan Belman, who grew up in South Austin, said past economic incentive deals have hurt communities more than helped them.

"I remember before Oracle came to town there used to be a vibrant Latinx community [in Riverside] until they were displaced by Oracle," he said.

Belman is against the deal, which he said will drive resources away from pandemic recovery efforts.

"Our community needs services from its government now more than ever," he said, "and we cannot justify providing incentives to a multibillion-dollar corporation while people are without food on the table."

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