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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Bettencourt’

Council passes dumb forced tax cut

This is where we are. City Council rejected Mayor Sylvester Turner’s proposal to leave Houston’s tax rate unchanged from last year Wednesday, instead approving a tiny rate cut to comply with the voter-imposed cap on property tax revenues. Turner had proposed using Hurricane Harvey to invoke a disaster exception clause in the 13-year-old revenue cap […]

Mayor Turner lowers tax rate hike amount

I’m sure we’re all glad to see this. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Wednesday said the temporary property tax rate hike he has proposed would be cut in half after federal officials approved his request to increase reimbursement for the city’s Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. Turner earlier this month had pitched an 8.9 percent increase for […]

Paul Bettencourt advocates doing nothing to rebuild after Harvey

He has nothing constructive to offer, that’s for sure. One of the top Republicans leaders in the Texas Legislature is slamming the city of Houston and other local governments for trying to raise taxes on homeowners in the name of hurricane recovery. And he’s certain the increase will provoke a response of some sort from […]

Mayor seeks one-year tax hike for Harvey cleanup

This stuff isn’t going to pay for itself, you know. Mayor Sylvester Turner will ask City Council to approve an 8.9 percent hike in the city’s tax rate this fall to help Houston recover from Tropical Storm Harvey, in what would be the first tax rate hike from City Hall in more than two decades. […]

Will we spend on some flood mitigation projects?

Maybe. We’ll see. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is calling for the construction of flood control infrastructure in the Houston area — things he said should have been built “decades and decades ago” — including a coastal barrier to protect the region from deadly storm surge. “We need more levees. […]

No special session needed to address Harvey flooding

So says Greg Abbott. Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday another special session of the Texas Legislature won’t be necessary to deal with the response to Hurricane Harvey. “We won’t need a special session for this,” Abbott told reporters, noting that the state has enough resources to “address the needs between now and the next session.” […]

House committee hears largely pointless property tax bills

Something will probably come out of this, but it’s hard to understand why. A Texas House committee on Tuesday spent more than seven hours plowing through more than 30 bills that aim to tackle rising property tax bills — months after similar legislation died amid an intra-GOP war over how conservatively state officials should govern. […]

Do we really have to have a pension bond vote?

So as we know, the Houston pension reform bill that passed contains a provision that requires a vote on the pension obligation bonds that Mayor Turner intends to float as a down payment. Pension obligation bonds have been floated in the past, by Mayor White, without a vote, but for whatever the reason some members […]

No Astrodome vote this fall

This is a bit of a surprise. [Sen. John] Whitmire filed a bill that would force the county to get voter approval before spending any money on the Dome. “It’s a dream and you shouldn’t spend taxpayer dollars on a dream,” Whitmire said. Whitmire’s bill sailed through the Senate, but hit a brick wall in […]

Senate passes pension reform bill

Progress. Houston’s pension reform package passed the Texas Senate by a 25-5 margin Monday, as a possible political blockade dissolved to provide the landmark proposal a speedy passage. Mayor Sylvester Turner’s reforms now await a hearing in the state House on Saturday. “I believe this current version is our best chance at significant pension reform […]

Petitions submitted to force another pension vote

Oh, good grief. Voters soon could decide whether to close Houston’s traditional pension plans to new employees after political activists submitted a petition to City Hall to force a referendum this November. The petition further complicates Mayor Sylvester Turner’s efforts to pass a pension reform bill, which already had hit a hurdle in the state […]

Busy day in the Senate

They got stuff done, I’ll give them that. Whether it was stuff worth doing or not, I’ll leave to you. 1. Senate bill would let Houston voters weigh in on fix to pension crisis. The Senate on Wednesday voted 21-10 to give preliminary approval of a bill that would require voters to sign off before […]

Senate proposes to make our tax system more broken

That’s what this will surely do. The Texas Senate on Tuesday approved a controversial bill that seeks to curb the growth in property taxes that local government agencies like cities and counties levy on landowners. Senate Bill 2, which passed in an 18-12 vote, could require taxing entities to hold an election if the amount […]

Pension reform bill passes Senate committee

A major step forward. Houston’s pension reform plan cleared a state Senate committee in its initial hearing at the Capitol on Monday, despite the fact that all those who testified – including Mayor Sylvester Turner – opposed at least some portion of the omnibus package. Retirees were concerned about benefit cuts. Some conservatives said the […]

It’s HCDE hunting season again

Every two years, like clockwork. A Houston-area legislator has filed two bills targeting the Harris County Department of Education, renewing his assault on the agency that provides special education therapy services to hundreds of students. State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a Republican whose district covers much of northwest Harris County, said he was upset that the […]

Some dude opposes pension reform

Presenting this in a slightly redacted form. [Some dude] has joined friend and ally Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, in rallying opposition to [Mayor Sylvester] Turner’s [pension reform] proposal among conservatives. He has attended at least three dozen forums on the topic, by his count, and has been running social media ads touting his views on […]

We may be voting on pension obligation bonds

Oh, boy. A state lawmaker carrying Houston’s pension reform bill says her version of the proposal will require a public referendum on a $1 billion cash infusion central to the negotiations, an idea Mayor Sylvester Turner called a “poison pill” that could derail the reforms and force “massive” layoffs. The requirement that voters have a […]

More on the Whitmire Astrodome bill

I still don’t care for this. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett voiced concern Tuesday that a bill filed by a veteran state senator jeopardizes the county’s plan to revitalize the Astrodome, adding that county representatives would continue to try to persuade legislators to support the $105 million project. Emmett said state Sen. John Whitmire’s bill, […]

A re-vote on recapture?

This is very interesting. After reconsideration of an 18-year-old law, state education officials are adjusting their school finance calculations in a way that could save several dozen school districts roughly $100 million — while costing the state the same amount in revenue. One of the apparent beneficiaries is Houston ISD, where the change means taxpayers […]

This fight feels different

The more I read about the forthcoming fight between Dan Patrick and his minions and everyone else over the bathroom bill, the more I am struck by the thought that we have never seen anything quite like this before in Texas. Standing in front of reporters Thursday, Patrick was still a man on the mission, […]

Precinct analysis: Bennett v Sullivan

Ann Harris Bennett was the only countywide Democratic candidate to be trailing on Election Day as the early voting totals were posted, but as the night went on she cut into the deficit and finally took the lead around 10 PM, going on to win by a modest margin. Here’s how that broke down: Dist […]

Council ratifies Turner’s pension plan

From the inbox: On a 16-1 vote, Houston City Council has endorsed Mayor Sylvester Turner’s historic package of pension reforms. The vote clears the way for the City to move forward in partnership with the pension systems to seek legislative approval of the reforms. “I am bubbling over on the inside,” said Mayor Turner. “I […]

Chron overview of Harris County Tax Assessor race

It’s deja vu all over again. Republican Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan once again faces a challenge from Democrat Ann Harris Bennett, a rematch from four years ago for an office that oversees billions of dollars in property tax collections, maintains voter rolls and registers more vehicles than any other county in the state. […]

Senate whinefest about ballot propositions

Spare me. Members of a state Senate committee called Monday for changes in Texas law to prevent cities from thwarting or blocking citizen petition drives, a key issue for conservative and tea party groups in Houston and other cities in recent years. At a meeting of the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee, members made it clear […]

The state is starting to feel the squeeze

Things are tough all over. The state is facing big problems affecting vulnerable populations that will take significant money to fix at the same time that a slump in the energy industry is chipping into its revenues, House Speaker Joe Straus warned Tuesday. “Writing a balanced and disciplined budget that appropriately funds our top priorities […]

What kind of ruling might we expect in the school finance case?

KUHF explores the possibilities. Four major scenarios to watch for: The Texas Supreme Court could not rule at all. Instead, it could send the case back to the lower court to see if the latest $2.5 billion dollars to the education budget solves the problem. “And the court could say, you know, we need more […]

Council members complain about open records requests

Oh, please. Councilmen Michael Kubosh and Dave Martin on Tuesday blasted a records request from a D.C.-based nonprofit to those council members who voted against the Houston equal rights ordinance, known as HERO, last year. The Campaign for Accountability’s request seeks communication between prominent local anti-HERO activists as well as anti-LGBT groups, such as the […]

Senate committee whines about ballot language

Give me a break. State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, cited the wording of recent Houston referendums to lengthen term limits and on a controversial equal-rights ordinance as two examples, both of which he said could have been more clear. The committee is studying whether state law needs to be changed to ensure that local and […]

Auditing HCDE

We’ll see about this. Later this summer, state auditors are expected to release their final report on the Harris County Department of Education. They’ve been examining the agency since last December. Superintendent James Colbert told lawmakers about it at a hearing in April. “We should have absolutely nothing to hide as far as I’m concerned […]

Senate belatedly addresses one voter ID concern

Better really late and at least mildly coerced than never, I guess. The Texas Senate, with scant attention during an early morning vote, gave its unanimous answer to a lingering question the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals posed about the state’s embattled voter ID law. Among the first votes taken by the chamber on […]

Senate passes Metro board expansion bill

From the inbox: The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) today applauded the unanimous approval of transit legislation by the Texas State Senate, that is designed to enhance Board stability, provide for an orderly transition of Board members and initiate continuity from year to year. Currently, the Texas Transportation Code provides for the appointment, […]

Three bad bills

Bad bill #1: State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, has been trying for months to pass legislation that would make it tougher for local entities to bring in more tax revenue by taking advantage of rising property values. On Thursday, he managed to add language to a bill from state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, that could […]

Council’s pension meeting

It was about what you’d expect. Many City Council members who attended a special meeting Friday to discuss Mayor Annise Parker’s controversial deal with the city’s firefighters pension called the gathering a success, despite two members walking out and breaking a quorum before a vote could be held to support or oppose the agreement. The […]

The revenue cap has already hit

Lovely. Houstonians will see their first property tax rate cut in five years as the city runs up against a revenue cap imposed by voters a decade ago. The modest rollback works out to $12.27 a year for the owner of a $200,000 house with a standard homestead exemption. […] The city’s current property tax […]