Houston Mayor Annise Parker Offers City Budget Democrats Would Blast If She Were A Republican—Working People And The Poor Take The Biggest Hits
Republican Governor Rick Perry and the Republican-dominated Texas legislature are moving towards passage of a state budget that will severely cut needed state services such as education and health care.
Democrats and all forward-looking Texans have rightfully condemned this budget.
Here in Houston, Democratic Mayor Annise Parker and the Democratic-majority are moving towards passage of a city budget that lays off more than 700 city workers, cuts library hours, and closes some city pools and community centers.
(Above–Houston. Picture by Yassie.)
In this economy, these former city workers may now go for many months–if not longer–without a good job. How many public resources will they use collecting unemployment or visiting the emergency room after their benefits run out?
In the 2010 elections, Governor Perry was soundly reelected and Texas voters chose huge Republican legislative majorities
As hard-hearted and shortsighted as the political majority may be in Texas, our state government officials can at least claim that people got what they voted for.
In Houston, city voters supported Barack Obama with 61% of the vote in 2008. Both final candidates in the Houston 2009 mayoral runoff vote were Democrats. City voters elected a majority Democratic City Council in 2009.
Yet we have a budget in Houston that appears to reflect many of the same values we find in our state budget.
If a Republican Mayor and council had proposed this budget, they would be criticized by the same people now attacking Governor Perry and the legislature.
Democrats and progressives have a right and a duty to ask more of Mayor Parker.
Tax increases should have at least been on the table.
If we are going to ask Rick Perry and Republicans in control of state government to find more revenue to meet the legitimate needs of Texans, we should ask the same of Annise Parker and our Houston City Council.
It appears that working people and the poor are the ones taking the cuts in this budget.
Where are the Democrats and the progressives asking hard questions about if the budget could have been structured in some other way?
Why do we give any benefit of the doubt to a Mayor who attends Republican fundraisers, portrays herself as a “fiscal conservative”, and who has now offered a budget that is balanced on the backs of those least able to take the hit?
Where is the confidence in our beliefs as Democrats and progressives when we consider Mayor Parker?