Archive for December 26th, 2014

Dave and Enrique, two of my nephews, took the patriotic plunge yesterday and downloaded “The Interview” so our family was represented as America fights back. Dave said it was a kind of “Spies Like Us” flick.

The Hallmark network had a movie that came out this year called “Angels and Ornaments.” A tune was sung at the end called “’Twas the Night.” It was sung by the lead of the flick, Jessalyn Gilsig. The tune is not available yet on itunes or elsewhere. It is a very sweet tune and I am thinking Hallmark will probably hand it off next holiday season to a bigger name singer and it will be one of next holiday season’s hits. Commentary thinks the Gilsig version is just fine and works well.

Here is an easy one from the Chron’s sports section that came out yesterday. Name the Chron’s top local sports story of 2014.

The Chron E-Board thinks Valero got a sweet deal from H-Town City Hall. Check this:

How much does City Hall love Valero? Let us count the ways in the recent sweetheart deal for Valero approved by a divided Houston City Council.

The deal means Valero’s Manchester facility, a refinery inside Houston city limits, will be considered outside the city boundaries for tax purposes. The move will let the energy giant pay lower fees than if it remained in the city and paid property taxes. What’s the rationale for giving a major company an estimated tax break of up to $17 million?

Andy Icken, the city’s economic development czar, said Valero convinced him that the $800 million expansion would occur elsewhere without the city’s help, according to Chronicle reporter Mike Morris (“Valero seeks special deal for its Manchester refinery” Page B1, Dec. 15). Icken refers to this as the “but for” argument. But for the tax break, the project would not go foreward.

In today’s oil price environment, a big investment in Houston’s energy sector like Valero’s expansion is welcome news to many, but City Hall loves Valero so much that it didn’t check the Internet. On a Jan. 29, 2014, Valero informed investors that its management had approved the Houston expansion. It looks like Valero had concluded that the economics of the investment – including future tax obligations – passed the company’s hurdle rate.

City Hall loves Valero so much that it says that a voter-imposed revenue cap means the Valero tax break would not cost the city money. Of course, City Hall could apply this rationale to reduce the taxes of any property owner. The property tax cap increases annually with inflation and population growth, so if the city hits the cap in one year there may be additional room under the cap in the future. If that happens, it won’t be fair that Valero should be paying less while other property owners are paying the regular rate.

City Hall loves Valero so much that this is the second public tax break the company has received for this same facility this year.

Here is the entire E-Board take: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Some-deal-5978127.php.

Jose Altuve chasing the batting title this past season was the Chron’s top local sports story of the year of course.

Read Full Post »