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Same old story: City wins, Hotze loses

Yes, they’re still litigating 2004 ballot propositions around here.

The Texas Supreme Court has dismissed a six-year-old case against the City of Houston seeking to limit the city government’s annual income.

Carroll Robinson, Bruce Hotze and Jeffrey Daily sought to make Proposition 2, passed by voters in 2004, the law of the city. It capped revenue from all sources. The city never implemented it because on the same ballot a city-sponsored revenue cap, Proposition 1, passed with more votes than Proposition 2 received.

Proposition 1 only limits revenues raised for the general fund, which pays police officers, firefighters, garbage collectors, and the like. Proposition 2 includes a cap on so-called “enterprise” revenues — money made at the airport, convention center and through water bills, for example.

If Proposition 2 ruled the day, the city could be forced to shrink the general fund to stay under the cap if, for example, a lot more people used the airport and the city collected resulting fees. Or, if people used a lot more water during, say, a long drought, and a lot more water bill money poured into city coffers.

No, I didn’t realize there were still any active cases relating to this. Looking in my archives, the last rulings I see were from over three years ago. You might think this would be the end of it, but if you did you would be wrong, as the losers are saying that the Supremes didn’t rule on the merits of the case. So maybe by the year 2018 we’ll have some finality on this.

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