Lawsuit filed against medical school proposition
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While some Travis County voters are beginning to make their way to the polls, the fight continues over a Proposition 1, a tax hike proposal to pay for a local medical school.
A lawyer representing the Travis County Taxpayers Union filed a lawsuit Monday in an attempt to halt the proposition.
If passed by the November ballot, Central Health Proposition 1 would tax Travis County property owners 12 cents per 100 dollar valuation in order to fund local health care services and eventually build a medical school. An Austin homeowner with a $200,000 home would see a tax hike of about $240 per year.
The Travis County Taxpayers Union opposes the plan and hired attorney to Stephen Casey to fight the proposition. According to Casey, healthcare districts can only provide services for "needy and indigent people." They cannot tax citizens to provide services for the county's entire population.
"We think it violates the neutral principles that elections are supposed to run under," Casey said. "The ballot proposition looks like it's a free for all for anything they want to do."
But city leaders believe it's that variety of services that can bring jobs and growth.
"I strongly believe healthcare is our most important problem in the United States and we have to do what we can on a local level to make it better,” Austin’s Mayor Lee Leffingwell said.
Mayor Leffingwell says the first thing the proposition would do is set up more community clinics and provide emergency psychiatric care. The medical school would come later...
"All components are scheduled to be completed in 10 years," he said.
Since Proposition 1 is already on the ballot and voting has already begun, the lawsuit would only prevent its implementation.
Casey is slated to meet with a federal attorney to argue his case.