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Archive for September 12th, 2017

Trade-Offs

The H-Town Mayor wants to increase our property taxes to help pay for stuff after the Harvey mess.

One question I have is have we – folks from H-Town – ever seen our taxes increased to help pay for damages after a major hurricane or storm?

Here is the start of Mike Morris’ story from the Chron:

Mayor Sylvester Turner will ask City Council to approve an 8.9 percent hike in the city’s tax rate this fall to help Houston recover from Tropical Storm Harvey, in what would be the first tax rate hike from City Hall in more than two decades.

The average Houston homeowner would pay $118 more in property taxes next year under the proposal, which will begin a series of public hearings later this month and reach a formal vote in mid-October.

The tax rate would rise from 58.64 cents per $100 of appraised value – the lowest city tax rate since the late 1980s – to 63.87 cents. That was the rate from 2009 through 2013, when a 13-year-old voter-imposed limit on Houston’s property tax collections first began forcing City Council to cut the rate each year to avoid bringing in more revenue than was allowed.

Turner is able to propose an increase beyond the strictures of the revenue cap – allowing the city to collect an extra $113 million for one year – because Harvey placed Houston under a federal disaster declaration.

“If this is not an emergency, I don’t know what is. What we’re able to recoup from one year, the $113 million, will not even be enough to cover the expenses we will have incurred,” Turner said Monday. “What we don’t get from the feds we’ll have to come up with ourselves. I would be not doing my job if I did not advance it.”

Debris removal could cost more than $200 million and will require Houston to foot 10 percent of the bill without being reimbursed. The city also lost 334 vehicles to floodwaters and saw its municipal courts complex, city hall and its adjacent annex and two wastewater treatment plants knocked offline.

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Turner-proposes-tax-rate-hike-for-Harvey-response-12189814.php.

In the article, seven members of the H-Town City Council had a comment. All four Dems supported the Mayor and three GOPers opposed.

If we are going to have to cough up more dough, you figure there have to be some trade-offs.

What exactly are we short? What exactly are we paying for? For example, if we lost 334 vehicles, what is the replacement cost for 334 vehicles?

How about tougher regulations to keep folks from building in areas that flood easily?

How about committing to some of the 12 points raised by the Chron E-Board this past Sunday?

I know this may sound cold blooded. The property owners who suffered severe damage probably feel that they should be exempt from paying more taxes. The property owners who didn’t suffer any damage may wonder why they should paying for clean-up in other parts of town. Interesting dilemma. Nobody gets a free ride though.

To the GOPers who have a problem with paying more taxes, how about getting Gov. Greg Abbott to shake some serious money loose from the so called Rainy Day Fund to help pay for the recovery.

Stay tuned on this item for sure.

It looks like Hunker Down reads Commentary. I said this yesterday:

Commentary gets that all of our local elected officials have been busy trying to help their constituents that sustained flood damage and they have not had the time to focus on next steps. It will be interesting to see which ones will finally get around to embracing major changes in how we do things around here.

This is the co-headline in today’s  Chron:

COUNTY: Emmett eyes upgrades for dams, reservoirs, regulations

Here is the start of the article:

Calling Tropical Storm Harvey’s devastation a “game-changer,” Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Monday called for a sweeping reexamination of the region’s flood control strategy, a process that could include billions of dollars to upgrade aging dams, building a new storm water reservoir and ramping up regulations to tamp down booming development in flood-prone areas.

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Emmett-calls-for-sweeping-changes-to-region-s-12189908.php.

Nice! Let’s get others on the program.

Here is from Commentary’s client, Gretchen Himsl for HISD Trustee, District 1:

Dear Friends,

As we move into the final eight weeks, I wanted to take a moment to provide an update on our campaign. First, our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by Hurricane Harvey. We are saddened by the devastating losses our fellow Houstonians experienced, but also inspired by the acts of heroism large and small we witnessed in the storm’s aftermath. It’s what makes Houston such an amazing place to call home, and I look forward to continuing to help our city and our schools rebuild.

As we try to return to normal, I want to report that our campaign continues to gain momentum. I’m excited to announce the endorsement by City Councilmember Karla Cisneros, who previously represented District I on the School Board and now serves a large number of its residents at City Hall.

Houstonians for Great Public Schools (www.houstongps.org) also endorsed me, joining other public education advocates such as current HISD Trustee Anna Eastman, State Representative Garnet Coleman, former State Representative Scott Hochberg, and former HISD Trustees Paula Arnold, Dianne Johnson, and Cathy Mincberg. A full list of supporters can be found on our updated website at www.gretchenforhisd.com.

Our voter outreach efforts will kick back up this weekend — walking neighborhoods and hosting weekly meet and greet events with our District I neighbors. If you would like to help, please contact us by email, phone, website, Facebook or Twitter – there’s a job for everyone! This also is a good time to check your voter registration. The last day to register is October 7. If you aren’t sure about your registration, please visit http://www.hctax.net/Voter/Search and enter your name. We have more details on how to register on our website.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who has contributed financially to our campaign. We have been blessed by the generous support of so many friends and neighbors. Campaigns are expensive, even at this local level. The contributions you make at the website https://tinyurl.com/contributetoGretchen will go directly to communicating our message to the voters of District I in the coming weeks. Thank you again for your support!

Sincerely,

Gretchen

Paid for by the Gretchen Himsl Campaign.

The ‘Stros need to start playing better. That’s all I have to say as Justin Verlander starts this evening.

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