For those in Austin who don’t know, the EGRSO (the Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office… I had to look it up too) gets a substantial portion of its funding from the municipally-owned utility Austin Energy. What does this office do? From its city website:
[The EGRSO] implements the City of Austin Economic Development Policy as directed by the Austin City Council.
Essentially, the office provides grants and loans of city funds or services in order to promote economic development. Among its awardees are Facebook, LegalZoom, Heliovolt, Friday Night Lights, and the Home Depot Austin Technology Center.
Recently, the Electric Utility Commission voted unanimously to cut AE’s funding of the EGRSO, citing the fact that AE faces tough budget choices inside its own walls. Commissioner Shudde Fath wrote in the Business Journal that AE can no longer be the city’s cash cow.
EUC Chairman Phillip Schmandt released a statement on the matter yesterday:
I applaud EGRSO and its programs. There are many great ideas in EGROS’ $10 Million budget.
But not every great idea should be funded with government money.
And more to the point, not every great idea should be funded from utility bills paid by our hard working customers who are struggling to make ends meet every month. (more…)