Nobody likes the guy who says “I told you so.” But those of us who fought together against the Rain Tax in Houston last fall DID tell taxpayers in Houston that there was no way the City of Houston was going to be able to keep their hands off the money collected.
In spite of numerous problems with its initial implementation, which were completely foreseeable, Mayor Parker and members of Houston City Council continue to defend the Renew Houston plan. But now, yet another Problem with Prop 1 has emerged.
It was passed by Houston voters as a tax to address the city’s decrepit drainage system and pothole-marred streets. But $857,000 of the new Proposition 1 fund — which Mayor Annise Parker pitched as a “lock box that can only be spent for street and drainage improvements” — is slated for hike and bike trails.
What? Hike and Bike trails? The article continues:
“The money was not supposed to go for hike and bike trails,” said Bob Jones, part of the successful Renew Houston effort. “This is not the intention for the money that we voted on.”
Is this the same Bob Jones so vehement in his support of this boondoggle? Apparently so.
Mayor Parker originally said this (with a lovely dig at the tea party tucked in there as well):
“With a fee and placing that in the city charter, we would be prohibited from spending this money on anything other than streets and drainage,” Parker promised in an interview on the eve of the vote. “In an age of teabaggers and activism, this is forcing compliance from government.”
Houston Tea Party Society warned about the compounding effect of this tax in the first place, though some of the entities received waivers later:
1. Property Tax (county – PLUS the county will pay Prop 1 fees on county property)
2. Drainage Tax to property owners in COH (Prop 1)
3. School Districts taxed by Prop 1 (where even a small part of the district is in COH)
4. COH water rate increase of 40% (also affects outlying areas getting COH water)
5. Businesses Taxed by Prop 1 (passed on to consumer)
6. Churches Taxed by Prop 1 (reducing tithes and giving that churches can use)
7. METRO Sales Tax (Contains a portion for “mobility” which includes street improvements)
But there’s more! President Obama signed Senate Bill 3481 which requires the federal government to pay drainage fees. You’ve got it, NASA, all the federal buildings, ALL federal properties will be subject to Prop 1. So now we add:
8. Federal Income Tax (your payroll taxes will now pay the Prop 1 fee to the City of Houston)
You could be paying drainage fees EIGHT TIMES!
Houston, you’ve been snookered.