Leaders in Austin, Texas, recently approved a resolution to continue to lease city-owned property to Planned Parenthood for $1 a year, essentially giving the abortion provider “free rent.” The Austin City Council has leased the 3,720 square feet space to Planned Parenthood since 1972, with lease extensions in 1982, 1992, 2002, and 2011. The Council approved a resolution which, “directed staff to negotiate a 20-year term lease amendment with Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas for the building located at 1823 East 7th Street at the annual cost of $1.00.”
The vote, which took place earlier this month, was nearly unanimous with just one Council member opposing the decision. According to a local news outlet, “There’s also a 20-year renewal option, which would allow Planned Parenthood to use the building through 2058.”
A press release issued by Texas Values states that a proposal from Austin Life Care, a local pregnancy care center, offered to pay the market rate for the same property but was not even considered.
The release went on to state:
Austin residents are facing numerous ballot propositions that would raise their taxes in order to cover costs. Some experts say over 20 years this deal would be close to a 4 million dollar tax break for Planned Parenthood. The property is located in… an area where minorities and lower income families can no longer afford to live.
It’s not fair that Planned Parenthood can rent this property that’s owned by taxpayers for the grand total of one dollar per year. This property is worth over $111,000, but Planned Parenthood is only paying one dollar to rent a year but then plans to pay $1.2 million in renovations. And one would think that the Austin City Council would ensure that Planned Parenthood’s paying their fair share, especially when residents in this community are seeing their schools closed down, they’re seeing their property taxes increase….
There’s another organization that sent a proposal to this council to pay the fair market value of this property in annual rent but that proposal isn’t even being considered. What about federally qualified health care centers? Centers that do the same thing that Planned Parenthood does without killing unborn children. Are they getting the option to have a bid on this property?
…Let’s not forget that Planned Parenthood isn’t just any organization. It’s not a federally qualified health care center. It’s an organization that has covered up child sex abuse and has been caught on tape discussing the sale of baby body parts for profit….
Hudgens told Council members that while east Austinites are facing rising costs, it’s unfair to be essentially granting Planned Parenthood free rent.
“The increase of property taxes are the equivalent of what Planned Parenthood will be paying for the next couple hundreds of years if not thousands of years,” Hudgens said.
The Council claims, “The proposed approval of the lease is based upon performance measures that Planned Parenthood will be required to fulfill to meet their strategic goals and to serve the needs of the City residents.”
On their Facebook page, Planned Parenthood celebrated the decision, writing, “[Y]esterday the City of Austin again showed their commitment to affordable, accessible reproductive healthcare by authorizing a 20-year lease for our health center in East Austin! We have served Austin at this location in East 7th Street since 1973. Thanks to the ongoing commitment of our community and city leaders, our doors will be open for the next generation of Austinites.”
Planned Parenthood then took to Twitter to personally thank every Austin Council Member who voted in their favor, writing, “Thank you
#ATXCouncil for ensuring the next generation of Austinites can rely on our East 7th health center!! Please join us in thanking @MayorAdler, @ALTERforATX, @GregCasar, @JimmyFlannigan, @DGarzaforD2, @Oraatx1, @AnnKitchenATX, @LesliePoolATX, @CM_Renteria, and @kathietovo!”
According to a recent financial statement from the facility’s affiliate, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, stated that PPGT took in over $12 million in contributions and nearly $4.5 million in government grants and contracts in 2016 alone. The affiliate’s net assets totaled over $47 million in just one year.
And while taxpayers continue to foot the bill for the Austin facility, the affiliate’s CEO, Ken Lambrecht, took home well over $400K in salaries in 2016 alone, according to the organization’s 990 filing for that year.
Jonathan Saenz, President of Texas Values, told Live Action News that, despite the decision, they have no plans to give up on this fight. “This sweetheart government deal for the nation’s largest abortion provider puts politics over the needs of the people. East Austin residents, specifically, should be furious. This issue is far from over.”