City Council Approves $152 Million in New Debt Without Voter Knowledge or Approval

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With little fanfare and without voter approval, Houston City Council recently signed off on $150 million in new debt, divided up among the over two dozen Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones or TIRZ. The Uptown and Memorial City TIRZs budgets provide for a combined $118 million in new debt in 2017. The new debt will generally need no further council approval, with total TIRZ debt rising to $620 million during this fiscal year alone.  This seems to stand in contrast to

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Spike in Chinatown Robberies drives Citizens to Protest

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A dozen leaders of an assortment of Chinese community organizations rallied in protest on Saturday near the Galleria to bring attention to a string of violent crimes that appear to target Asians. One of the most recent and high profile incidents was the robbery of attorney Jessica Chen as she was leaving her southwest Houston office, in the heart of Chinatown. With Chen on the ground, two male suspects succeeded in stealing her purse, phone, and BMW SUV. She was

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TIRZ Funds, Redirected to Balance City Budget, threatens Southwest Houston Projects

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SHARPSTOWN ZONE AMONG HARDEST HIT With renewed attention on the structure of city finances, Mike Morris and Rebecca Elliot penned an enterprise story in Sunday’s Houston Chronicle about the challenges of city investment zones. (City development zones face scrutiny for trapping tax revenues) This is an excellent piece which simplifies a complicated subject. They reveal that in order to balance this years overall city budget, Mayor Turner (with likely no other option) redirected almost $20 million from TIRZ zones across

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