Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Annise Parker's RUINOUS Fiscal Legacy....


"The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender."
Proverbs 22:7

The knock on Houston's lame-duck mayor has always been "yeah, she'll pursue a far-left anti-first amendment social agenda, but she's really good on taxes and spending."

That characterization has always been bogus, but a few days ago Moody's blew the whistle:
One of the top three credit rating agencies dinged Houston for its rising pension costs and property tax revenue cap, revising the city's general obligation debt outlook to "negative" late last week.
Moody's Investors Service affirmed the city's Aa2 rating, a high mark, but warned that the "revision to negative reflects the challenges the city faces from growing pensions costs and liabilities, which are compounded by significantly limited revenue raising flexibility, and projected structural imbalance."
Mayor Annise Parker reacted to the news Sunday, issuing a news release that largely concurred with the agency's warnings about rising pensions costs and the voter-approved revenue cap, which ties property tax collection to the combined rates of inflation and population growth. The city ran into the cap for the first time last year, triggering a modest property tax rate trim.
TPPF has more:
“Moody’s report is a clear indication that the City of Houston needs long-term structural spending and debt reforms so as not to become the Detroit-of-the-South,” said Quintero. “Unfortunately, when it comes to public pension reform—an area singled out for reform in Moody’s report—the city’s current posture prevents good government ideas from becoming reality.

“Some of the city’s largest local retirement systems have made it all but impossible to make changes locally because they have codified their plans in state statute. This has effectively taken local control off the table and put Austin between Houstonians and their troubled pension plans. Any serious effort to address Moody’s negative debt outlook must include the restoration of local pension control so that Houstonians have some say over how their broken systems are fixed.”
Bottom Line: In addition to her anti-First Amendment legacy, Parker's insistent refusal to address the embedded fiscal time-bombs in the city's finances is her final bequest to Houston...

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Update: It gets better, from Empower Texans....
The major governmental entities in the Houston area sent forty-nine individual lobbyists to defend and expand their own power at taxpayer expense.

That’s right. Houstonians picked up most of the lobbying tab, while the rest went to Harris County residents living outside of Houston city limits.

During the 84th session, the City of Houston along with Houston ISD spent a combined $1.2 million in taxpayer dollars to further their agendas.

This from the same city who’s runaway Mayor is clamoring to break the voter-imposed property tax cap, among other offenses, because despite having a rain tax, the city still “doesn’t have enough money.”

.....

This figure doesn’t include the number of individual lobbyists sent at taxpayer expense by the Emergency Service Districts, Special Purpose Districts, Appraisal Boards, Harris County Sports Authority, and a host of other government agencies representing the bulk of area residents.

Furthermore, it does not include other taxpayer funded, government-interest associations such as the Texas Municipal League (TML), Texas Association of Schools Boards (TASB), Texas Association of Counties (TAC), Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) and other well-funded groups that testify before committee, publish propaganda and engage in policy advocacy.

The amount of money Houston officials spent lobbying legislators certainly makes a compelling case against their dubious claim that, without increasing taxes or passing bonds, they are handicapped by limited funds from the revenue cap.

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