Conservative voters remain up for grabs in the Mayoral runoff, so both Annise Parker and Gene Locke were out at the Pachyderm Club on Tuesday looking to grab a few of them. I found this bit to be revealing:
Parker outlined her public safety initiative to allow any certified peace officer to respond to serious crime, regardless of jurisdiction. She also expressed support for the city’s affirmative action program, but got her loudest applause when she reiterated her pledge to not raise taxes.
“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.“ Parker said. “My pledge is not to raise the tax rate — certainly not in the near term. That’s not necessary.”
Locke recounted his East Texas roots, where his father was a farmer and his mother a school teacher, and introduced his wife of 27 years. He told the group he was a devout Christian who had raised five children.
“I’m not going to raise anybody’s property taxes. We’ve got to find a way to give property tax relief,” Locke said.
The voters who were at this forum spoke about “fiscal responsibility”, which is always a popular phrase among voters of all kinds of stripes. To me, being fiscally responsible means ensuring that you have the means to pay for the things you want and need. I have no idea how one can seek to lower taxes while simultaneously pledging to increase the size of the police force, which is not only the single largest line item in the budget already but has also been growing rapidly in recent years even without an increase in the number of officers, but it doesn’t sound fiscally responsible to me. It sounds like a path to deficits and cutbacks in other city services. Locke is painting himself into a corner here. Parker is leaving herself room to deal with reality. Which of these sounds more responsible to you? Mary Benton has more.