Updated 10/25/2012 07:14 PM
Prop 1 opponents call on UT Regents to disclose medical school plan
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Dozens of Travis County Proposition One backers continued their rally for support for the proposed health care tax Thursday at Dell Children’s.
Proposition 1 would tax Travis County property owners 5 cents per $100 valuation in order to fund health care services and eventually build a medical school. The supporters say passing the permanent property tax will cost on average $9 a month, and is packed with benefits.
"The diseases I treat, we need to do more work to understand the causes of them. That requires research," Dell Children’s Pediatric Neurosurgeon Timothy George said.
However, skeptics like Mary Arnold say key players are leaving out necessary information. Central Health, which oversees the Travis County Health Department, put Prop 1 on the ballot. That was followed by financial pledges from the UT Board of Regents and Seton Healthcare Family to build a medical school in Austin.
"I certainly support a medical school in Austin, but without additional assurances and information, I am unwilling to support that large amount of money," Arnold said. "To really understand why the money is needed in this form, how all of the approvals are going to be reached in order for the community to put in money and get back incentive money from the federal government."
Arnold staged her protest at the entrance to Lions' Municipal Golf Course Thursday. She and the “Save Muny“ group doubt the school would be built on the 88-year-old golf course, but know it is a possibility.
"We want to keep here just as it is, and yet our lease is being closed down in 2019," Arnold said.
Between the uncertain future of Muny and Prop 1, Arnold feels the regents are in the midst of a money grab.
Central Health's Rosie Mendoza does not know exactly where the school would be built, but says the Board of Regents gave her board a general idea.
"We do have a letter of understanding with them in regards to the location -- within a certain location -- where they might build," she said.
Last May, the UT Regents pledged $30 million to build a medical school in Austin. Seton Healthcare will put up another $250 million, but a spokesman for the board of regents says that is contingent on Proposition 1 passing.