11/9/19

Texas Income Tax Constitutional Amendment Passes Again

Texas has no personal income tax (one of only seven States to have this provision) and it is likely to stay that way based upon the results of Proposition Four on the recent Texas ballot.

Proposition Four, which erects an almost impossible hurdle to the enactment of a state income tax, was adopted by a  74% to 26% margin. [We have had a lot of Californians move to Texas, but 26% in favor of an income tax?] It is worth noting that a total of $3,000 was spent to support the passage of Prop 4.

What is really interesting is to see the opposition to Prop 4: The Austin American Statesman (the local mast of the Texas Communist Party), the Austin Chronicle (the mouthpiece of the Austin Socialist Party, founded in 1981, a year after I moved to ATX, by Louis Black one of the founders of SXSW), the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, the Dallas Morning News,  the Eagle, the Houston Chronicle, the Longview News-Journal,  the San Antonio Express-News, and the Waco Tribute-Herald.

The actual vote was 1,467,994 in favor of Prop 4 and 504,848 against — this in a state with 16MM registered voters shows how tenuous the electorate’s grasp is on things. 

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07/28/19

Pickle Juice Is Normal

So, I’m having an adult beverage with a pal and I order a Pickle Juice Martini, a lovely concoction made with vodka and pickle juice. My pal looks at me, says, “What?”

“Yes, I adore a pickle juice and vodka drink. It doesn’t have to be a martini. It can be in a whiskey glass with cracked ice or a single large round ice cube.” I dig a single large ice cube.

He looks for the lobotomy scars and says, “Nobody drinks pickle juice.” He is a confident, accomplished person whose opinion I usually respect, but this time he has wandered off the reservation. I tell him so.

Tito's Vodka Pickle Infusion Martini

Tito’s vodka is handmade in Austin By God Texas. I like mine in a whiskey glass with a sliver of dill pickle, but that’s just me.

[Three ounces Tito’s, one ounce pickle juice, one half ounce dry vermouth, shaken with cracked ice, strained into a chilled martini glass. Same approach but in a whiskey glass over ice with a few pickle chunks or spears. Your choice. Choose wisely.]

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07/8/19

Austin — Tech Pros Love It

OK, so you are probably getting tired of your Big Red Car touting Austin, but allow me one more bit of apple polishing, may I?

Austin By God Texas has been identified as THE MOST DESIRABLE CITY for a tech pro to work in the United States.

Plus, you can swim at Barton Springs and swim laps in its 65F water temp, 1/8th mile length. Ahh, Austin!

Image result for images of barton springs

Surprised?

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06/26/19

Austin — the best place to live in the galaxy

It comes as no surprise to Austinites that US News & World Report has picked Austin By God Texas as the “best place in the galaxy to live” for the third year in a row.

Don’t take my word for it. Here it is.

US News & World Report — best cities report 

USNWR graded cities based on coolness, the handsomeness and beauty of its citizens, their wisdom and charm and just all around goodness. Austin won. Again. And again.

Meanwhile Austin is seeing low unemployment of the 2.2% variety. Jobs are plentiful, but the work force is stretched tight which means wages are headed upward.

Still, when you get down to it, Austin is just a typical college town with a level of live music and hipness that boggles the mind. Plus, we have Whole Foods.

Did I mention 66F Barton Springs? Yes, we have good swimming next to downtown. Cold water. Refreshing like a Big Gulp.

Image result for images barton springs austin

So, if you live in Chicago or New York or California — I’m leaving a welcome packet for you at the airport. Come on down.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. 2.2% unemployment and Barton Springs — this is you, babe. Trust me.

05/23/19

Hot Tech Times in Austin By God Texas

Austin. When you hear that word, you want to be here. You want Barton Springs, the music scene, the Texas Longhorns, the food scene, the local beers, breakfast tacos, and you want the high tech scene.

Here it is. Barton Springs, at 68F, is natural air conditioning on the hottest day in Austin.

Main Barton Spring (“Parthhena, the “mother spring”) — the 4th largest spring in Texas — and its sisters generate more than 32MM cubic feet per day of Edwards Aquifer water. Highest flow rate ever recorded was 85MM CFS during the infamous 1991 floods. In times of drought, the flow rate may be lower. All water from the Edwards is rain water.

Image result for images barton springs austin

While Barton Springs is cold and refreshing, while the Austin tech scene is hot and exciting. The following chart is the work of crunchbase news and its Austin author, Mary Ann Azevedo. She writes about Austin and lives in Austin.

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12/13/18

Apple — Deep in the Heart of Austin By God Texas

Big Red Car feeling cheeky with announcement that Apple has decided to go long on Austin By God Texas by building a new corporate campus to cost more than $1,000,000,000 and create more than 15,000 jobs.

Of course, they did this in the shadow of the Amazon pig fest. Bravo, Apple.

Apple, which has been in Austin for more than a quarter of a century, and Austin have had a “starter” relationship with their first campus which employs 6,200 Austinites. This was already their largest operation outside Cupertino (a fact I am quite skeptical about).

The campus will be built on a 133 acre site, employing 5,000 out of the chute followed by 10,000 more making Apple Austin’s largest private employer.  All power will be “renewable.” You knew that would be the way they rolled, right?

Functionally, the Austin campus will focus on research and development, finance, sales, and customer service. They also make the MacBook Air in Austin.

Image result for images texas capitol

Apple had announced a plan to build $30,000,000,000 of new facilities and to create 20,000 US jobs by 2023, so the Austin project is a huge part of their national efforts.

Much of this new US development was driven by recent US Tax Code changes which made it more difficult for companies like Apple to hide profits overseas thereby bringing business back to the US. [This is how those jobs are going to come home, y’all.]

Apple employs 90,000 workers in the US and is beginning to make more of its products in the US and stationing headquarters elements here also. The company added 6,000 jobs in the US in 2018.

Welcome, again, Apple, and let’s get to work.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Be good to yourself. Merry Christmas.