I have stated on a number occasions on the campaign trail that I don't plan to raise taxes in this economy — that's the wrong thing to do to struggling taxpayers and business. My pledge is not to raise the tax rate — certainly not in the near term. That's not necessary.So far, she has "kept" this pledge--she hasn't raised the tax rate. However, Houstonians are finding that despite no tax increases, more and more of their money is going to support the city government. On Wednesday city council passed the largest water rate increase in the city's history. Retired city workers had their health insurance premiums increased nearly 50 percent. And home owners are now forced to use biodegradable lawn bags, which can cost ten times more than other bags.
While Houstonians are poised to see their water rates soar, the city's $140 million budget deficit will not be affected by the rate increase. Which means that we had better hold on to our wallets, because Ma will be coming for more money. Following the water rate increase the Chronicle reported:
The mayor compared the “tough vote” to eating “a healthy dose of vegetables,” something she promised the city has only begun to do as the budget process heats up for next year.Ma previously warned us that she would make us eat our vegetables. As I pointed out at the time, while her threat might have been made facetiously, the fact remains that her edicts can and will be forced upon all Houstonians. If we don't "eat our vegetables" or do anything else she demands, we risk going to jail, having our property seized, or both.
To date, Ma's non-taxes have been very taxing and she hasn't made a dent in the budget deficit. There are only two ways to balance the budget--cut spending or raise more revenues. Since politicians seem to be genetically incapable of cutting spending, my money--literally and figuratively--is on increased taxes. When that occurs Ma will once again trot out the "tough decision" line in an attempt to make us feel sorry for her.
Given Ma's track record, the only "tough decision" will be deciding which Houstonians to rob so that the city can continue its profligate spending. Cut spending and returning city government to its proper function--the protection of individual rights--would be the really tough decision, for it would require Ma and her cohorts on city council to question their most basic premises. Sadly, that isn't going to happen.