Estrada’s Dry Cleaning and Tuxedo Rentals on East 7th St. has been an East Austin institution for 60 years. It’s the kind of business that is and has been the backbone of the Austin economy and community for generations. It’s the kind of business that the Mayor would have you believe he and his Project Connect will somehow help. The problem is that what the Mayor says Project Connect will do to this long-established local business is a lot different from what the project will do.
This year, the COVID 19 pandemic has hit Estrada’s hard. People are isolated in their homes and simply don’t need as much clothing dry cleaned. And they sure aren’t renting tuxedos as often.
Yet now, in this year of pandemic, with shutdowns, layoffs and serious financial struggles for many businesses, this 60-year old establishment will face a 26.25% increase in property taxes — an $805.95 hike! This will be 61% of the property tax increase this business will pay this year. And remember this will be due before the end of 2020. There is not a single study to show it would reduce traffic congestion, improve transportation or significantly reduce pollution.
This is the kind of tax increase that threatens more than one long-established Austin business. But the land developers and real estate speculators who gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Mayor’s Political Action Committee pushing Project Connect don’t care. To them Estrada’s Dry Cleaning and Tuxedo Rental is just another piece of land. And, if it closes, they can buy the land, build apartments on the site, and make a lot of money!
So, when you vote Tuesday, think about Estrada Dry Cleaning and Tuxedo Rental, and all the other small Austin businesses that face an average 26.2% hike in property taxes. Is Project Connect worth sacrificing all these businesses? There have been no conclusive studies conducted. In fact, the only sure thing we know about Project Connect is that it will make a lot of money for a few financial contributors!
Voices of Austin (VofA) is a grassroots citizen’s organization formed to speak out for the vast majority of Austin citizens and organizations. VofA is a registered 501c4 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. It is not a political action committee and will not endorse or oppose candidates or propositions in an election or make financial contributions to candidates or campaigns.
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