There is only one issue you should focus on in the November elections - Flood Control and abatement. Everything we review at TCR will be through that lens. Nothing else matters in the fall of 2017 for our region.
City Of Houston Bonds/Propositions
The City of Houston has five propositions: A, B, C, D, and E, all bond issues totaling $1.495 billion dollars. These bonds ALL require levying of taxes to pay for them.
The problems with these propositions are multi-fold:
(1) The recently adopted 2017 budget had a projected deficit of $160 million and it was closed by diversion of pension payments, layoffs and by one-time fixes.
(2) The proposed bonds will cost the city about $75 million a year to payoff principle and interest, and the city has no plan of how to pay them off without a tax increase. See below for the language for the bonds:
(3) Finally and most critically, the bonds are spending the grand total of ZERO on flood remediation and control, which is by far the most critical issue facing the city.
TCR says vote "No" on all Houston propositions instructing our city officials to go back to the drawing board and reprioritize their efforts. In addition, the pension bailout will not solve the city's long-term problem of underpaying and overpromising pensions. Essentially, for years the city has used the pension funds payable as a slush fund for illegal deficit spending.
TCR received an email from a lifelong liberal Democrat, who lost his house in Harvey, on the Houston pension bonds:
"There is a wide consensus amongst national claimant's lawyers that underfunded municipal and local government unit pension systems are in dire condition."
State Of Texas Propositions:
"Regrettably, Mayor Sylvester Turner's proposal, while well intentioned, is simply a thin band-aid. There are mechanisms to remedy the financial instability, but it's tough without going to bankruptcy court. They City's pension funds have been actuarially unsound for a very long time. No pensioner wants to give up any portion of his or her pension. The deferred pension component is a culprit that defies logic and in the end will be the terminus of the fund without court intervention to restructure the funding and ignores "the greatest good for the majority of pensioners."
Proposition 1: Taxes - Yes - Authorizes tax exemption for property of partially disabled veterans received as donations.
Proposition 2: Housing - No - allows home equity loans and lines of credit to become easier to get. The problem is the easy-to-get home equity loans can be used for spending on daily items.
Proposition 3: Yes - Provides for how long an appointed officer may serve after his or her term expires.
Proposition 4: Yes - Requires a court to provide notice to the attorney general of a challenge to a statute.
Proposition 5: No - Just encourages gambling via "professional sports teams" in charitable raffles. If we want to legalize gambling we should and not just pick winners (of pro sports teams.)
Proposition 6: Yes - Authorizes property tax exemptions for surviving spouses of first responders killed in line of duty. We owe a lot to our first responders who give their lives.
Proposition 7: Yes - Authorizes financial institutions to offer prizes to promote savings. This is just marketing, and promotions and for savings, which are a good thing.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8, replaying Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8, Monday at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpublicmedia.org.
About Your Editor
10-26-2017: The 85th Texas Legislature and Its Aftermath - With Guests: State Senator Paul Bettencourt, Rep. Garnet Coleman and State Senator Sylvia Garcia.
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his twenty-first year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last sixteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 13 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his 15th year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.