Okay, so back in 2004 there were two competing revenue cap proposals for the city of Houston on the ballot. One only limited property and sales tax revenues plus water/sewer service fees, while the other affected those plus revenue generated by the airports and convention facilities. Both were passed, with the former getting a higher percentage and the city claiming that it therefore took precedence. Supporters of the more stringent cap filed a lawsuit, which ruled in their favor at first go-round; the city is currently appealing. In the meantime, City Proposition G from last November explicitly removed the airport and convention caps; it passed easily. Opponents of Prop G, who were among the initiators of the original strict caps from 2004, sued even before the vote, saying that Prop G was illegal.
That's the two-minute-drill outline, which will save me a boatload of copying and pasting from this article, which is about that lawsuit being dismissed. More background is here and here. On to today's piece:
In the latest court decision affecting the city's finances, a state district judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging two ballot measures Houston voters approved last fall.
The suit, brought by local businessman and limited-government activist Bruce Hotze, sought to invalidate Propositions G and H. He claimed the measures, which loosened restrictions on how much revenue the city can raise from taxes and other sources, were not lawfully drafted or proposed.
But the city's outside counsel, Scott Atlas of Weil, Gotshal & Manges law firm, successfully argued that Hotze didn't have the right to sue.
"The city followed the letter in the law in every respect in putting Propositions G and H on the ballot," said Atlas, who also represents the city in another Hotze lawsuit in support of a city revenue cap, known as Proposition 2, that voters approved in 2004.
Hotze, who campaigned against Propositions G and H, said Tuesday that he might appeal State District Judge P.K. Reiter's decision in the most recent case.
"I'm disappointed that the court hasn't upheld in favor of the people," he said. "I filed this on behalf of the people."
Reiter's order doesn't explain the decision, which was handed down Friday. But the city's legal team asked for the dismissal, claiming that Hotze had filed the suit too late -- and that he didn't have "standing," a legal term referring to people who have the right to sue because they were somehow injured by another's party's actions. Atlas argued that Hotze wasn't affected by the ballot measures more than the average voter, and therefore couldn't sue.