Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Turner attempts "Hurricane recovery" shakedown; Abbott responds with important point about Corporate Welfare

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

The other day, Houston mayor Sylvester Turner attempted to hold Hurricane Harvey recovery hostage to unrelated grow-government histrionics; Governor Abbott's response is spot on:
I will be paying every city of Houston invoice they submit to us within approximately 10 days. Now that said, I did see the mayor’s letter where he’s asking for certain payments by the state of Texas to the city which are unprecedented, this never happened before in the state of Texas, and it raises a concern that the mayor seems to be using this as hostage to raise taxes, when in reality, the city of Houston is sitting on hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that he’s not tapping into.

"Those hundreds of millions of dollars are siloed in TIRZ programs. Either the mayor could use those hundreds of millions of dollars to pay those expenses that cost a fraction of that, or the state legislature, during the next session, can and will modify the TIRZ statutes to ensure that the reserves, by TIRZ, can be used, by cities, to respond to disasters. So he has all the money that he needs, including the money that I provided to him, including the money that taxpayers have provided to him. He just needs to tap into it.”
Abbott is absolutely correct on this.  "Tax Increment Financing" and "Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones" are an abominable public policy practice that should be abolished in their entirety.  In the meantime, those funds should absolutely be tapped before asking overstretched taxpayers to pony up more.

[Note: Learn more about "Tax Increment Financing" and "Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones" here.  Learn about our thoughts about the practice at the state level here.  Learn about a specific application of this terrible policy at the municipal level in Austin here.]

[Note II: Ironically enough, we intend to testify against this very policy at tomorrow's #atxcouncil meeting.]

Bottom Line: It's not a secret that this website has its issues with Governor Abbott, but he's spot on here.

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