At-Large Position 1

Press Releases Archive

Mayor Backpedals on Substantial Tax Increase

September 20, 2017 -- At today’s Houston City Council meeting, Mayor Turner revealed that because President Trump authorized FEMA to increase its reimbursement rates, it is no longer necessary to increase the property tax rate by as much as Turner proposed. The Mayor indicated he is considering reducing his tax increase by half, and, may withdraw his tax increase all together if the State of Texas were to come to the rescue, with $50 to $60 million from the state. The Mayor’s announcement this morning is welcome relief to Houstonians, particularly those hard hit by the storm.

From the outset, I have cautioned against rushing into a decision to raise taxes by busting the Property Tax Revenue Cap. In previous articles, I have argued that we do not yet know what impact Hurricane Harvey will have on our city finances. We are just now learning what recovery resources are available through the City’s catastrophic insurance policy, FEMA, and the State. Currently, we have the ready cash on hand to accelerate the recovery process with additional fed dollars on the way.

We heard from FEMA, and we are in much better financial shape than the Mayor initially stated.

After numerous requests, the Administration finally provided me the City’s insurance coverage. Having reviewed the material, I can report our insurance coverage is substantial. While we wait to hear from the State, we still have our City’s fund balance (savings account) of over 200 million dollars available.

We still have not yet explored the monies that various TIRZ’s could contribute to their respective areas, nor, per my recommendation, have we considered delaying Capital Improvement Projects and repurposing those funds toward recovery.

In short, it is still premature to consider exercising the emergency provision of the taxpayer approved limit on property taxes. I stand by my original position that raising taxes should be a last resort. I am opposed to any tax increase until we have explored and exhaustively investigated all other options.