Brown and Hall agree on taxes

The Houston Chronicle reports on a futile effort by a City Councilmember, Helena Brown, to continue her one-person crusade against the Government. This is a typical Wednesday at City Hall, except to note the strange ally Brown garnered today.

As the council was set to approve the property tax rates for the year at today’s meeting, Councilmember Brown used a strange set of numbers to note that, as opposed to City data showing a 6% “revenue increase,” the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) notes the number is closer to 10.5%. It is important to note that a “revenue increase” just means that more money is being collected, not that the percentages have increased. This is actually, in some ways, a good sign, as it shows that property values have recovered from the economic downturn.

Councilmember Brown then proposed two amendments, one to decrease the property tax by two cents, and one to decrease it by one cent. Both measures failed, as the rest of the Council voted in unanimity against Councilmember Brown. Very conservative individuals such as Councilmember Christie, Martin and Pennington voted in favor of the measure. Accordingly, it would be unwise to conflate this with a normal left-vs-right measure.

Typically, such political posturing by Councilmember Brown would not be newsworthy, but what happened thereafter most definitely was. In a recent press release, Ben Hall announced support for Councilmember Brown’s exact proposal. While both Hall and Brown are correct in that, even with a two cent cut, revenue would still rise, the amount of surplus is especially important. That is because the City will soon be facing some big financial challengers, such as the unfunded pension liabilities.

This asinine policy espousal of Hall’s is absolutely ridiculous. This is a far-right position, one that I am not entirely sure Hall’s campaign understands. If Hall truly wants to get serious about paying our pension liabilities, he should not be campaigning to cut taxes unnecessarily. That reeks of Tea Party un-logic.

One thought on “Brown and Hall agree on taxes

  1. As revenues increase, so will most costs to the city. If the revenue exceeds said costs, it would make sense to put as much of the money towards existing debt, where it be pension debt of the billions more in bonded debt. Even $20 million each year over time would make a big impact on existing debt while lowering the rate would only handcuff the city. The idea that cutting employee benefits will somehow erase existing debt is also the “un-logic of the tea party”.

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