|Houston is in a financial crisis due to the ongoing reckless spending habits and slight decreases in revenue. Regardless, it does not logically make sense that our beloved city could be in a “financial crisis” when our unemployment rates are nearly the lowest in the nation and property rates remain stable. |
Probably the most recent indicators of Houston’s poor spending habits are proposals to spend $4.5 million to update blue tooth technology and another $800,000 to add an additional two new city council seats without regard to where these funds will come from. As I agree that Houston should add the new city council seats, it is my position that the expense should be taken from budget cuts to the office of the mayor, controller, and city council members. There is no reason to expand the cost of our local government.
Instead of exercising financial responsibility, Houston currently taxes the poor and gives it to the rich. Specifically, it taxes the poor by creating a hidden property tax for homeowners, churches, and schools (and yes our infrastructure must be maintained). Houston then gives to the rich by giving interest free loans to companies such as Wal-Mart to build a store where the local community doesn’t even want it. This is just sad.
One way our city could maintain financial responsibility is by using a technique called zero-based budgeting. With our city’s current budget only increases in spending must be justified. With a zero-based budget all expenses must be justified.
Furthermore, Houston needs to prioritize what it wants to accomplish. It needs pick a few things and do them right. Public safety must be at the top of that list. Maintaining our infrastructure needs to be second. Our government needs to be condensed and there are many things that Houston should stop doing all together. For example, our city shouldn’t prevent local charities from feeding the homeless and it shouldn’t maintain a self-serving historical preservation that hurts local businesses and property values.
Let’s be clear here. It would help if the city did generate more revenue. The trick here is how to bring in more money in a way that will not tax or fee the little guy or hinder business. In that regard, I have some suggestions. First, the city could follow Massachusetts lead in becoming self-insured and allow smaller municipalities to buy into the city’s pool. Houston needs to be sensitive as city employees are reluctant (rightfully so) to let this happen as the city could be a back-door to lessening health benefits. Second, the city should consider putting credit card machines in police cars.
In conclusion, the reason why Houston has low unemployment rates and steady property values is because we have a good deal here. Houston is an inexpensive premier city. The easiest way for Houston to continue growing is by keeping government out of our personal lives and pocketbooks. If our city continues to increase taxes and fees to continue reckless spending, it will deter and hamper future growth. The city needs to pick a few things and do them right.
For more information:
Candidate for Houston City Council, At Large #2
Eric Dick for Houston Campaign
(713) 510-4500 - Telephone
4325 Tulsa Road; Houston, Texas 77092