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Say No to More Taxes in Hidalgo County

This petition had 918 supporters

February 24, 2015

Complaint from the people of Hidalgo County

We the people of Hidalgo County are hereby submitting a complaint to Governor Greg Abbott concerning the actions of our two Senators and six Representatives. This week Senators Juan Hinojosa and Eddie Lucio Jr. filed bill 626 to create the Hidalgo County Healthcare District. 

The issue is that the voters of Hidalgo County, and more specifically 36,800 people voted against this bill in November of 2014. The people voted down the bill and assumed that this was the end of the issue.  They voted against the bill because this County is one of the poorest in the State and the creation of a new taxing body could increase taxes by 75 cents per one hundred dollars of value. The County has a 70% home ownership rate and a new tax would impede the people’s ability to make home mortgage payments. There is no question that people need health care, but forcing them to pay higher property taxes is not a solution. This approach will only create more homeless families, and the local economy will suffer because businesses will have less money to create jobs. 

An article written by KURV talk radio states that the private hospitals of Hidalgo County contributed $200,000 to Juan Hinojosa’s campaign for the last two years alone. The people who have signed this complaint believe that contributions made by private hospital are the primary reason that our elected officials are looking for alternatives to get this bill passed. It has nothing to do with a Healthier Hidalgo County.

Our concern, and the basis of our complaint is that we do not believe politicians have the right to continue bring a bill for consideration because political contributions have been made. They are supposed to be working for the people and not the special interest groups. It took 50 registered voters to place the hospital district on the ballot. According to Texas law, if the people want to terminate this program, it would take signatures from 46,200 registered voters.

It is also our opinion that private hospitals are trying to create a health care monopoly. If a hospital district is approved in Hidalgo County, no other such district could be created in the same area. Any new hospital that is not in the district could not compete with those receiving public funding. The bill would allow the use of tax money to create companies that would compete with existing private sector businesses. Businesses that could be created include mobile emergency medical services, long and short term home health services, skilled nursing care, intermediate nursing care and hospice care. The private companies that currently provide this services could not compete with a public entity that is using public money and does not have to bid for contracts. This is nothing less than unfair competition that would bankrupt existing companies.

We the people of Hidalgo County are requesting that the Governor conduct a review of the process followed by our Senators and Representatives in their effort to get bill 626 approved. This would include contributions made by Border Health Political Action Committee. There is very little difference between the bill that was turned down by the voters and the new bill submitted by Senator Juan Hinojosa. The name has been changed from Hospital District to Healthcare District and a 25 cent cap has been added.   The nine member unelected board can still set an election to increase the cap to 75 cents whenever they wanted. A vote of the people should be more than a temporary setback for local politicians to dismiss.

We the people of Hidalgo County thank you for your consideration. 


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