Dear BJP Editorial Board:
Paying down the city’s General Fund (GO) Debt and unfunded pension liability does not require eliminating the City Charter Rev Cap spending limit.
The City Charter Rev Cap requirement does not limit how much revenue the city can take in, it controls how much money the city can spend without having to provide a Rebate to taxpayers or asking their permission to keep and spend excess revenue. This is essentially the same requirement as the state’s property tax rollback law that limits how much property tax revenue the city can take in without voter approval. Providing taxpayers with a rebate is not a new idea. Every year the federal government and some states rebate millions to taxpayers.
The people talking about eliminating the Rev Cap requirement seem to have forgotten about the state’s property tax rollback requirement or they are simply using eliminating the Rev Cap as a straw man to increase the city’s tax rate and fees.
Instead of talking about eliminating the city’s Rev Cap, city leaders need to be developing thoughtful and innovative ideas for cutting city operating expenses, modernizing city government and developing a long term business plan to increase city revenue without raising the tax rate and fees.
Houston needs to expand our tax base, NOT increasing our tax rate or fees. Houston needs more private commercial and industrial development inside the city limits. We also need to attract more tourists to Houston and our region by legalizing gaming and expanding light rail to Hobby Airport and building commuter rail out the 290 corridor and to the Woodlands, Pearland, Sugar Land and Missouri City. Doing these things will help increase sales tax revenue.
Carroll G. Robinson is an Associate Professor of Public Administration. He is a former At-Large Houston City Council Member and a past Chairman of the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Houston Firefighters Relief and Retirement Fund.