A bill that would remove churches and schools from the drainage fee Houston voters narrowly approved last November as part of Proposition 1 is scheduled for a public hearing Wednesday before the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee.
Dubbed Rebuild Houston, the measure amends the city charter to provide for the improvement and renewal of Houston’s drainage and streets by creating a dedicated $125 million-a-year pay-as-you-go fund.
“The language on the ballot was confusing, even to the most informed voter,” Patrick said. “What was not clear to the voters was that the new fee would be placed on churches and school districts, as well as businesses and homes.”
That’s Sen. Dan Patrick, who thinks the federal government should stay out of the state’s business and who isn’t a city of Houston voter, getting the state of Texas involved in the city’s business. Prop 1 opponents were talking about churches having to pay the fee well before the election, and I know there was organized opposition from some of the megachurches in town, so if people didn’t know about this, whose fault is it? Even though he’s not mentioned in this story, you can be sure that Paul Bettencourt, who is costing the city a bunch of money with his frivolous anti-Prop 1 and anti-water rate hike lawsuits, is behind this.
[Mayor Annise] Parker has noted in the past that eight of the state’s 10 largest cities have drainage fees, and that none of the eight exempt churches. For cities with a fee, only Austin and Lubbock exempt schools, while El Paso has a 10 percent discount for schools.
Patrick said he also objected to the drainage fee, because it puts the city in the position of taxing another government entity – school districts. “School districts can little afford to pay a tax to the city and should not even be asked,” he said.
The level of hypocrisy for Dan Patrick to object to this, given his willingness to cut nearly $10 billion from public education funding and his unwillingness to address the structural deficit that has hamstrung school districts since 2006, is beyond my ability to calculate.
Under Senate Bill 714, the city also would be restricted from transferring the reduction in drainage fees from churches and schools to homeowners and businesses. State Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, is sponsoring a companion bill.
Why don’t you just revoke our charter while you’re at it, too? Shame on you, Rep. Dutton, for abetting Patrick’s screw-you to the voters.