Fort Bend County Commissioner’s Court discussed nearly $1 billion in mobility projects during the June 25th Commissioner’s Court meeting, leading to a potential bond election vote in November 2013. A number of potential tax revenue sources could fund an initial $150 million in projects, including sales tax revenues from county assistance districts, four of which are “out there”, and “legislation was just passed that allows you to create more” said Rich Muller of Allen Boone Humphries Robinson, LLP. Sales taxes could augment toll road revenues, TXDOT dollars, County Assistance Dollars all “put together with duct tape & zip ties” to help fund the projects.
Fort Bend County Judge Hebert emphasized the voters have to know what they’re voting on, with a drop dead date of August 1 for the final determination.
How much taxpayer money will be spent on educating the voters? It better be ZERO and here’s why.
- Houston Independent School District promoted the $1.89 billion bond issuance on a blog that appears to be funded with school tax dollars, according to a domain search on www.whois.net.
- Houston Community College needed to pass the bond before we could find out what is in it is the college’s disclosure on the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board website of a total potential liability with regard to employer contributions to the pension system (for the combined years ended 2012 and 2013) of approximately $8.1 million dollars.
- Lone Star College System has a complaint filed with the Texas Ethics Commission by the Texas Patriots PAC for the systems’ alleged violation of a number of provisions of the Texas Elections Code with their conduct in the November 2012 $498 million dollar referendum. The complaint filed with the TEC alleges LSCS entered into a contract for creative marketing & media services to advertise the bond election with public funds. LSCS also made the statement they could easily fund the $420 million in new bonds without increasing the tax rate.
Public funds should not be expended on what is defined as political advertising under the Texas Election Code. Fort Bend residents & businesses, as I outlined in this statement to the Fort Bend Sun, “should expect the same level & types of disclosures associated with spending taxpayer money as bond & stock market investors receive.”
There will be Fort Bend residents monitoring Commissioner Court agendas, meeting minutes & contracts entered into to ensure no taxpayer dollars are used to advertise or promote this bond election. And to all Texas County Commissioners: promoting a bond election asserting a county’s mobility projects can be completed without a tax increase is political advertisement of a promise no elected official can keep.