At least that’s what might happen, now that the County Commissioner’s of Harris County have voted to place a $217 million bond to fix the Dome funded by a half-cent increase to the County property tax rate on the November ballot.
Meanwhile, Pre-K activists who successfully collected over 150,000 signatures to place a one-penny Harris County Department of Education tax increase on the ballot to fund a pre-K training program await their fate as the signatures get approved and the County finds out from Greg Abbott whether the people are allowed to ask for a referendum. Sheriff Adrian Garcia has made the strongest case yet to support Early to Rise.
“We have to decide as a society, do we want to spend money helping little kids start on the right path, or do we want to pay for putting them in these orange jumpsuits and in these shackles?”
Will county voters be in the mood for tax hikes this November? Obviously, we have some major choices to make. The fate of a local icon and the fate of thousands of kids are up to the voters (at least if Emmett does the right thing and just lets the vote happen).
Of course, we cannot forget that we will also vote (again) on a $70 million bond to go toward a city-county joint inmate processing center. Obviously, the local Sheriff is for it since it might make life easier for his staff and programs. FYI: This project doesn’t come with a tax increase.
The voices against the Early to Rise initiative usually don’t support public education, so, it seems easy to gravitate toward supporting it. I still have questions about political accountability, but the voices against this bill are usually calling for more money to be thrown at unaccountable items like corporate charter schools, private school vouchers, and the like, yet use the accountability argument against Early to Rise. Hypocrisy never gets my support.
Meanwhile, the Dome initiative is all about saving an icon. It’s a huge icon. And one County Commissioner stated the choice voters supposedly have.
“If it does not pass in November, then that should be the death knell for the Dome,” Jack Morman said.
Others think they’ll just bring it up again later if it loses.
And just FYI.
County engineers and consultants, who estimated it would cost $217 million to repurpose the Dome, also determined it would cost $20 million to demolish it, not including the $8 million (for upkeep).
There will be plenty more discussion in the near future, but this is how things seem to be shaping up.