Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘revenue cap’

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 […]

Another property tax rate dustup

I have four things to say about this: Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to ask city council on Wednesday to sidestep the voter-imposed revenue cap by approving the same property tax rate as last year. According to City Controller Chris Brown, the city would need to cut the property tax rate by about one fifth of […]

HFD and disaster preparedness

There’s a lot here to think about, and to do something about. The Houston Fire Department’s limitations quickly became clear as Harvey’s floodwaters rose. Just one high-water rescue vehicle. Decades-old evacuation boats. Sparse training for swift-water rescues. And limited staffing after an 11th-hour decision not to call in major reinforcements to face the catastrophic storm. […]

Council to hold hearings on proposed tax rate increase

Here’s your chance to be heard. Houston City Council set the ball rolling Wednesday on Mayor Sylvester Turner’s proposed 8.9 percent tax rate hike to help fund Houston’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey, in what would be the first hike from City Hall in more than two decades. The council voted to schedule three public hearings […]

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. […]

Mayor will take revenue cap referendum off the 2017 ballot

Not gonna lie, I’m disappointed by this. Mayor Sylvester Turner abruptly reversed course Wednesday on his plan to ask voters to repeal Houston’s revenue cap this fall, saying it now is “unlikely” he will ask for its removal. The politically cautious move would leave the city fiscally shackled in the hope that a lighter November […]

Bonds on the ballot

Mayor Turner has one more item to deal with this November. Mayor Sylvester Turner is poised ask voters to approve bonds this fall to fund improvements to city parks, community centers, fire stations and health clinics, adding hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to a crowded November ballot. The proposed five-year capital improvement plan, […]

On to the revenue cap

With one major accomplishment (basically) finished, Mayor Turner moves on to the next major challenge facing him. “This is the most consequential campaign of the mayor’s career,” University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus said. “These things are more complicated and more politically fraught than either his mayoral campaign or the lobbying to get the […]

Bill King wants you to lower his property taxes

That’s not what he says in this op-ed, but it is the effect of what he’s arguing for, even if he’s not honest enough to come out and say it. Let’s start with the basic point that despite King’s disingenuous attempt to rebrand it, what the city has is indeed a revenue cap and not […]

Mayor Turner’s second budget

It’s about what you’d expect. With pension reform in sight, Mayor Sylvester Turner on Tuesday proposed a combination of departmental cuts, one-time fixes, deferred payments and a dip into city reserves to close next year’s $123 million budget gap. Turner aims to erase the deficit with $51 million in spending cuts – largely from police […]

Revenue cap will be on the November ballot

Here it comes, assuming the pension reform bill doesn’t get mugged in a dark alley. Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to ask voters to lift Houston’s cap on property tax collections in November, a move that could loosen one of the city’s primary fiscal constraints as it confronts still-hefty pension and debt costs that leave little […]

A look ahead to Houston’s 2017 elections

I want to return to something in that story about Mayor Turner’s 2017 agenda, which was near the bottom but which is a very big deal for the coming year: A lawsuit over the ballot language used last year to extend terms to a maximum of two four-year terms, from three two-year terms, hovers in […]

Year Two for Mayor Turner

Year One was busy, but a lot of what was done this year depends on what happens next year. Tasked last year with distinguishing himself from a crowded field of mayoral candidates, Sylvester Turner styled himself as a progressive with expansive policy goals. He pledged to boost wages, improve educational opportunities and implement a new […]

The State of Metro

Metro Chair Carrin Patman gave a “State of Metro” speech at the Greater Houston Partnership this week, and among other things she said that another referendum is in the works to finish some tasks from the 2003 vote and to address the issues we see today. One of the projects that remains unfunded is the […]

Now let’s take on the revenue cap

With the pension issue settled, this can be the next big item on Mayor Turner’s to-do list. Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to ask city voters next fall to do away with a decade-old cap on city revenues, but for now he’s stuck with it. So City Council on Wednesday will consider cutting Houston’s property tax […]

No bonds this year

Maybe next year. Mayor Sylvester Turner likely will not ask voters to approve bonds this November to replace the nearly depleted debt residents approved in 2012, a move that may delay several projects. […] Having addressed a $160 million shortfall with the unanimous passage of his first budget last month, Turner said he now is […]

So far, so good for Mayor Turner

That’s the general consensus of his first four-plus months in office. Faced with a $160 million budget shortfall that would leave some wringing their hands until deadline day, Mayor Sylvester Turner presented his plan a month ahead of schedule. The proposal being reviewed by City Council includes a few one-off gimmicks, by Turner’s own admission, […]

Mayor Turner delivers State of the City 2016

Here’s the press release. Flooding, pensions, City finances and public safety were front and center as Mayor Sylvester Turner delivered his first State of the City before the Greater Houston Partnership. In a major move designed to produce tangible results and instill confidence among residents, the mayor announced the selection of Stephen Costello to fill […]

Turner announces his budget

From the inbox: Utilizing a shared sacrifice approach, Mayor Sylvester Turner today unveiled a proposed Fiscal Year 2017 General Fund budget that eliminates a projected $160 million shortfall that was the result of cost increases, voter imposed revenue limitations, a broken appraisal system and the economic downturn. The budget totals $2.3 billion, which is about […]

Have I mentioned lately that the revenue cap is stupid public policy?

Because it is. Sales taxes are Houston’s second-largest source of revenue for the general fund, which pays for most core services. Just as concerning for city officials, however, was more news about the city’s largest general fund revenue source: property taxes. Mayor Sylvester Turner, as he did in February, criticized what he said is an […]

Layoffs are coming

It’s gonna suck, though hopefully not as hard as last time. Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday that a still undetermined number of city employees will be laid off in the coming months, making his first formal acknowledgment that Houston’s projected $126 million budget gap can’t be closed by July without personnel reductions. Though Turner did […]

Things are tough all over

HISD faces a big deficit: Houston ISD leaders are bracing for a projected $107 million budget shortfall that, in a worst-case scenario, could prompt the district to slash jobs. During the school board meeting Thursday, however, officials pledged to try keep cuts away from schools. “We get it,” Ken Huewitt, the district’s deputy superintendent and […]

Overview of the Controller runoff

It’s another one of those partisan races. Sorry, non-partisans. Though the job lacks policy-making authority, the race to become Houston’s next chief financial officer has developed into a partisan proxy war over how to correct Houston’s fiscal course. In the shadow of the first open-seat mayor’s race in six years, Republicans have lined up behind […]

KHOU poll: Turner 19, King and Garcia 9

Our third poll result in the past week. Sylvester Turner remains the front-runner, but Adrian Garcia has lost his once firm grip on second place and Bill King rises into the top tier of contenders in the race for Houston mayor. That’s the headline from the latest poll conducted for KHOU 11 News and Houston […]

Turner’s police plan

Time to look at a major policy proposal, from Mayoral candidate Sylvester Turner. Mayoral candidate Sylvester Turner unveiled a plan Thursday to expand the Houston Police Department by 540 officers by 2020, an effort he said is needed to help police better engage the communities they serve and to improve trust between some neighborhoods and […]

If HERO then no other ballot items

Makes sense. With her signature nondiscrimination law likely to appear on the November ballot, Mayor Annise Parker left in doubt Wednesday whether she will ask City Council to also place before voters long-discussed changes to term limits and the city’s revenue cap. Parker said she has no interest in putting the latter two items to […]

Parker wants a vote on lifting the revenue cap

So do I. Mayor Annise Parker plans to press City Council this month to reconsider loosening a decade-old revenue cap for public safety spending as talk of a looming budget deficit and possible service cuts grows more ominous around the dais. The cap limits the growth in city revenues to the combined rates of inflation […]

Circling back to city finances

I have three things to say about this. This time, [City Finance Director Kelly] Dowe insists, the $126 million deficit he projects for the budget year that starts next summer is not going to disappear, as past projected shortfalls have. There are no more payments to defer, he says, no more valuable city-owned land to […]

ReVote Houston?

Mayoral candidate Bill King calls for a do-over on Renew/ReBuild Houston. Houston mayoral candidate Bill King wants to put ReBuild Houston, the city’s controversial streetand drainage program, back up for a vote. […] King, the most vocal opponent of ReBuild Houston in the race, has seized the moment to attack ReBuild. “I only see one […]

Mayoral candidate forum season is underway

They talk about the arts. Houston’s mayoral candidates were full of praise for the city’s arts scene Wednesday, when they appeared at a forum together for the first time, though most said they would not support raising taxes or allocating new city funds to support arts and culture. The forum hosted by four city arts […]

Mayor Parker’s last budget

Here it is. Despite sounding the alarm for months that a multimillion dollar deficit could force service cuts, new fees and employee layoffs, Mayor Annise Parker rolled out a $5.1 billion city budget on Tuesday that largely preserves spending levels by drawing on one-time funding sources and higher-than-expected revenues to plug the gap. Parker warned […]

Council recommends term limits change

Meh, I say. A Houston City Council committee Tuesday night recommended changing the term limits of elected officials from three two-year terms to two four-year terms starting in 2019, a charter change that could go to voters in November. The ad-hoc charter review committee voted 10-3 to recommend the two four-year terms in January, but […]

Revenue cap will stay in place

Boo, hiss. Houston voters will not be given the option this fall of passing a property tax hike after a City Council committee on Thursday unanimously recommended leaving the city’s much-maligned revenue cap alone. […] The topic has received less attention recently, however, as projections show the cap will mean a projected $24 million less […]

State of the county 2015: Please cooperate more

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett makes his eighth State if the County address. In his eighth State of the County address, Emmett had choice words for both Austin – which is weighing a reduction in property taxes that form the backbone of county revenue – and for Houston – which has adopted a strategy of […]