- In a defeat for Mayor Bill White's administration, a district court has ruled that the city of Houston must operate under two revenue-cap initiatives approved by voters in 2004.
The city had argued that a limited cap backed by the mayor, called Proposition 1, took precedence because it received more votes. Backers of Proposition 2, put on the ballot by resident petition, said the city had to put both caps into effect, and sought a court order.
In a summary judgment issued late Monday, state District Judge Tad Halbach agreed with the Proposition 2 plaintiffs.
The city will appeal the ruling, which the mayor and controller say has no immediate practical effect on city revenues since this year's budget was written to allow for both revenue caps.
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Under Proposition 1, the city caps annual increases in property tax revenue and water and sewer rates to the combined rates of population growth and inflation. Proposition 2 would limit annual revenue increases from all sources – including aviation and convention money – to the combined rates of population growth and inflation.
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Bruce Hotze, a plaintiff in the case, said he was pleased by the ruling.
"I'm extremely disappointed that the mayor continues to fight the will of the voters at the ballot box," he said.
Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt said he hopes the city does not appeal the decision.
"All you are doing is throwing taxpayer dollars away. A summary judgment is a pretty strong statement," he said.
District Court Sides With Houston's TABOR
Some great news today on Houston's Proposition 2, a local tax and expenditure limitation modeled after Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR):