FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dated: March 30, 2011
Contact: Paul Bettencourt
Houston, TX – The Coalition For a Greater Houston, an organization of pastors, school officials as well as business and community leaders, expressed their appreciation today in response to the passage of SB 714 from the Senate Intergovernmental Relations committee. The bill provides drainage fee exemptions for qualified churches, schools and charitable institutions, while prohibiting the city from increasing the fees on other property owners.
Coalition spokesman Paul Bettencourt was pleased with the bill’s passage from committee and expressed optimism that it will have broad support on the Senate Floor. “We appreciate Senators Dan Patrick, Mario Gallegos and Chairman Royce West as well as the other committee members moving this forward. We hope that the bills progress will encourage City Council members and the Mayor to support its passage so we can both protect our churches, schools and charities as well as the taxpayers.” Representatives from Houston and Spring Branch ISD’s, Houston Medical Center, Houston Auto Dealer’s Association and Houston Area Pastor Council were among those who testified last week before the committee.
Bettencourt continued by responding to city council action this morning. “We were pleased that Councilman C.O. Bradford’s resolution instructing city lobbyists to support SB 714 and HB 2011 was presented today and trust that the mayor will respond accordingly to the bi-partisan support in the legislature.
He concluded by confirming the coalition’s continued focus on the “whole picture” of the Proposition 1 issue. “We have not changed our position that Proposition 1 is bad public policy, conducted in the shadow of legal, ethical and election related questions. While we work to resolve those issues, SB 714 should be adopted by the full Senate, the House and signed by the Governor to properly provide exemptions for the institutions serving such critical needs for our community.”