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Who doesn’t like parks?

The usual suspects – cranks, malcontents, and the Harris County GOP, that’s who.

Proposition B on the Nov. 6 ballot asks you to pay for part of that plan, of course. Not with increased taxes, though, [Mayor Annise] Parker insists. The bond measure asks voters to authorize $166 million in borrowing that the city plans to pay back through existing property tax collections.

Parker has said she would consider the Proposition B projects a legacy achievement in what she hopes will mark her place in city history as “the infrastructure mayor.”

But Dave Wilson, who has formed a PAC to oppose all five city bond measures, and like-minded anti-tax activists see a price tag, not just green space and infrastructure.

They have not targeted Proposition B specifically. Instead, they say the five propositions – combined with tax hikes proposed by Houston Independent School District and Houston Community College on the same ballot to pay for borrowing to fix those campuses – amount to too deep a dive into taxpayers’ pockets by government that cannot be trusted to spend money wisely.

While the measure calls for $166 million in taxpayer spending, it actually would cost $291 million to pay back with interest, according to one city estimate.

In a resolution opposing all city bond measures, the county Republican Party states: “Some of the proposed projects, such as creating ‘an integrated system of … bicycle trails’ seems a frivolous use of tax dollars when the city says it cannot find money to test thousands of stored rape kits.”

The resolution does not acknowledge that bond money cannot be used to pay for crime lab operations and other functions.

Of course, the city has found a way to pay for the rape kit backlog. It’s even one that I’m sure no Republican will ever, ever have to contribute towards. What could be better than that?

Honestly, I don’t get the Republicans’ opposition to this. There’s no tax increase. There’s never been a better time to float bonds, with interest rates at historically low levels. The city will only borrow as much as a private fundraising effort will generate. Everyone agrees that amenities like parks and bike trails are key to attracting businesses and knowledge workers to a city. The C Club, which last I checked was populated almost entirely by Republicans, has endorsed the parks bond. Even Republicans like riding bikes. What am I missing? Yes, I can see that this is part of a larger effort to sink all of the bonds, and whatever else you think of them the HISD and HCC bonds will have tax increases accompanying them. But that lack of distinction between the bonds shows that this is all about reflexive ideology and not about any policy rationale. I can’t say I’m surprised, but it’s all very unserious.

One more thing: The story sidebar lists CM Oliver Pennington as an opponent to the parks measure. While it is true that CM Pennington voted against putting the entire bond package on the ballot, he also called himself “particularly supportive” of the parks bond. It is possible to distinguish, even if the Harris County GOP won’t do it.

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  1. Michael says:

    … cranks, malcontents, and the Harris County GOP, that’s who.

    If you don’t count the cranks and malcontents, who is there left in the Harris County GOP?

  2. Mainstream says:

    It is a broader party than you may realize, but worth noting, is that no one supporting the HISD or city bond proposals even showed up to engage in the debate when votes by the assembly of 400 plus GOP precinct chairs was held on these subjects. So long as HISD and other policy interests ignore a segment of the electorate, they cannot be surprised that that segment ignores them. No literature was disseminated to explain or advocate for the bonds, no discreet phone calls to those allies within the group who might have been prepared to enter the debate if a few talking points had been shared.

  3. Noel Freeman says:

    Bruce Hotze is running anti-bond mail. Anything with the name ‘Hotze’ on it pretty much guarantees my vote for whomever or whatever he is opposing.

  4. joshua bullard says:

    hey noel freeman -is now a good time to address your discriminatory comment you made about me here on offthekuff which there is a record of or shall we just bring it up the next time you even think of running for office??????????

    you owe me an apology ,i should have filed a complaint against you …….

    joshua ben bullard