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Abbott approves August flood bond referendum

One more step forward.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday approved Harris County’s request to call a multi-billion-dollar bond election to pay for flood control measures on Aug. 25, the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey.

By state law, the county needed Abbott’s permission to call the “emergency special election” in spite of his oft-stated goal of reducing property taxes. The flood control bond package almost certainly will be accompanied by an increase in Harris County’s property tax rate.

Abbott granted the county’s request to put the issue to the voters, affirming his stated belief that responding to Harvey does “qualify as an emergency” and stating that he is “committed to working with Harris County to achieve its goals in the most efficient way possible.”

“As this request for an emergency special election was duly passed by a unanimous vote of the Harris County Commissioners Court, I hereby grant approval as governor of Texas for this emergency special election to be called for bonds to fund flood-related mitigation projects that respond to Hurricane Harvey,” Abbott wrote in a letter accompanying his decision.

[…]

The county plans to launch a public outreach campaign to seek input on what to include in the bond package, as well as drum up support for the measure. [County Judge Ed] Emmett said the focus would be on helping the most people possible.

“The worst thing we can do is say, ‘Just give us money and trust us,’” Emmett said. “It’s got to be a very open, transparent process.”

See here for the background. Commissioners Court still has to officially call the election, which means they have to define what the issue covers and what the wording of the referendum will be. There’s stuff in the story about that, but we’re not really any farther along than the “well, we could have this and we could have that” stage yet. That will all work itself out one way or another.

I’m more interested in the politics of this. What will the county’s strategy be to sell people on this idea and get them to come out at a weird time of year to vote for it? Who will spearhead the effort, and how much money will they spend on it? Who will be on Team Referendum, and who (if anyone) will stand in opposition? As I’ve said before, while city of Houston bonds tend to pass with room to spare, Harris County bonds tend to have less margin for error, and can’t be assumed to be favored even in the absence of organized resistance. They’re going to need to figure out what this thing is quickly so they can start selling it ASAP. Among other things, the difference between an election in August and an election in November is that people expect to vote in the latter. The first part of the sales job is going to be making sure people know that they need to vote at a different time. I’ll be keeping a close watch on this.

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8 Comments

  1. Manny Barrera says:

    Will wait for the details, I think I can influence at minimum 50 people to vote.

    The county has neglected the Flood Control District for at least 20 years. I could assume that they wanted flooding down stream so that people would move out to the county.

  2. Mainstream says:

    Manny, your conspiracy theories amaze me.

    But on another note, Harris County Republican Party Executive Committee passed a resolution last night condemning holding these sorts of bond and special tax district elections on random dates, in support of the state GOP platform which calls for such elections only during November elections, in order to have broader participation. Suggestions that our Republican-led commissioners’ court had carefully considered the value of an earlier election to gain funding, or that the issue was moot because of the Governor’s agreement to the August election date were ignored.

  3. Manny Barrera says:

    Mainstream, stick to the right wing conspiracies that you support or refuse to condemn.

    What conspiracy, I said I could assume, there is a logical reason I could assume as the Flood Control District has not been allowed to do their job. How did that happen, they cut or refuse to fund properly.

    An example of how that works, the Republicans want to kill Social Security, so how do they do it? They cut offices, thus far about 1,000 Social Security offices have been closed. https://www.denverpost.com/2018/05/06/social-security-offices-closed-since-2000/

    So keep your right wing crazy comments among the other right wing crazies.

    But please explain how you can support Trump, a woman abuser, a liar, a corrupt individual, accused of raping a child, the list is long. How can you live knowing you support an individual like Trump? Did I mention a traitor for working with the Russians to destroy my country? I don’t say your country because I have reason to believe that you are also a traitor for supporting Trump.

  4. Manny Barrera says:

    Mainstream as a Republican who seems to be intelligent, let me tell you, I am not the one pushing conspiracies, there are ample facts, https://www.salon.com/2018/05/09/timothy-snyder-on-trumps-campaign-against-democracy-he-is-deliberately-hurting-white-people/

  5. C.L. says:

    Manny, you hurt your own arguments when you start referencing articles in Wired, Salon, Slate, Mother Jones, etc. And for God’s sake, turn off MSNBC or HGTV or whatever cable channel you seem to be wired into. SSA closed 10% of its office over an eighteen year period, primary to cut costs but also because most of the claim process is now done online.

  6. Manny Barrera says:

    That is right C.L. only Fox has real news, I forgot about the far fringes of the Right and the only source of “Real News”.

    I don’t have cable so I don’t watch cable news, but I do subscribe to several newspapers and magazines but the truth hurts doesn’t it C.L.

    Trump Party wants to Destroy Social Security and Medicare, that is a fact.

    Do you really care if I am damaging my own argument?

    You read what you want C.L. I stand with the about 1,000 which includes,

    In addition, all 533 Social Security Administration “contact sites” — locations that serve remote, rural populations on a weekly or monthly basis — also have closed, said leaders of the union that represents Social Security employees.

    Or how about http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/17/technology/pew-study-seniors-internet/index.html

    Or from that article that you took only the part you wanted,

    To prove it to Congress, he dialed Social Security’s 800-number as he waited to start his testimony before a House Ways and Means subcommittee on March 7. Ninety minutes later, he was still on hold

    Have a good day, there is a God and there is justice.

  7. C.L. says:

    I’m convinced you’re a Mad Hatter.

  8. Manny Barrera says:

    When people like you think such of me, than the message is getting through, wonder what you think of the Russian puppet?