Tuesday, August 9th, the
honorable, incorruptible, and always ethical elected officials of the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court overwhelmingly approved via a 4-1 vote, to allow the Proposition of a Health Care Taxing District to be on the General Election, November 8th ballot. Of the 5 deciding officials, only Eddie Cantu of Pct 2 was the dissenting vote. Cantu’s primary reason behind his objection had to do with language on the petition, which were presented to the court by Juanita Valdez-Cox, Director of La Union de Pueblo Entero (LUPE), an illegal immigration advocacy group, and Father Jerry Frank, of Valley Interfaith. The petition called for an 8 cent property tax for every $100 valuation. According to Cantu, the setting for Health Care tax rate should be reserved exclusively for the Commissioner Court appointed “Board of Directors” and the tax rate ultimately approved by Hidalgo County Commissioners. According to Senate Bill 626, the ballot must specify a proposed tax rate. However, SB 626 also allows the Court appointed Board of Directors to set a tax rate, and to be approved by the Commissioners Court. Essentially, the rate you see at the ballot box may not ultimately be the rate Hidalgo County tax payers will have. That rate will be decided behind closed doors. As for why the proposed 8 cents, it’s likely that it was carried over from the first attempt at establishing a medical taxing district, which was narrowly defeated in November 2014. However, unlike 2014, the 2016 version may have a better chance at passing, and it all comes down to the numbers….
In 2014, Proposition 1, then known as the Hospital District, was narrowly defeated by the margin 52% to 48%. According to Hidalgo County Elections Department, only 83, 490 registered voters showed up to the polls, of these, about 12, 379 simply choose to not select an option when faced with Proposition 1. The margin of votes between for or against was a mere 2,508. Therefore, 12, 300 had the ability to determine the outcome of the proposition greatly in favor of for or against, had they chosen. Victory was essentially obtained by resolve and determination by those passionate about less taxation, and due to the small spread, there was very little room for error. Had just half of those that left the proposition blank decided to roll the dice and voted in favor of the proposition, not really knowing what it entailed, then it would have been over right there and then, and Hidalgo County would be under a Hospital District tax. This is the biggest hurdle those that are against the health district tax will face, and that being the unpredictability of the low information voter.
Proponents of the tax district see the uninformed voters as an opportunity and a weapon, and it’s by no coincidence why the petition had been created and voted in, despite its confusing language, just in time for the General Election in November 2016. It’s all been building up to this moment. Unlike mid-term elections, which traditionally bring out the more politically aware voters, Presidential elections bring out voters that are more passive, but are engaged by Presidential elections. This has great effects down ballot. Taking a look once again at Hidalgo County 2012 Presidential General Election records, approximately 141, 155 ballots were cast. 2012’s Presidential General to 2014’s mid-term saw a decrease of 41% of register voters. And now with 2016 being arguably one of the most divisive and rhetorically charged Presidential Elections, we should clearly anticipate numbers comparable or exceeding 2012’s returns. Simply put, if Tax opponents show up to the polls in the same numbers, using the same amount of effort placed in 2014, then their is a possibility of the tax passing. Border Health Pac, Healthy Hidalgo Pac, and others in league with Alonzo Cantu and Doctors Hospital have had two years to map out their battle plans. This is why LUPE and Valley Interfaith are leading the charge in their grass roots efforts. In fact it’s been alleged that members of LUPE mislead petitioners by visiting area nursing homes, and influencing elderly citizens to sign the petition, without properly explaining what it actually is. Regardless, this is an example of how easy it is to guide ones choice. We have all heard stories on what politiqueros will do to obtain votes, and we should expect no different with who ever is under the directions of DHR, or the Health PACs.
So what must Tax District opponents do in order to fight off this proposition once more? For starters, it’s important that we come together as a unified force. As I wrote above, no-taxers were victorious, but only by the skin of their teeth. This time, health taxers are more organized and have strategic plans on how to influence voters. I believe LUPE, Valley Interfaith and other agencies of the poor will position the proposition as a democratic or progressive item, supported and endorsed by the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I recall Valdez-Cox even using Clintons “Stronger Together” slogan while pitching the petition to the commissioners. “Hospital District” was changed to “Health Care District” in order to sound more appealing to voters. Many voters may be mislead or misinformed into thinking it’s associated with Obamacare, or that it’s free health care out right. It is essential that those who oppose discover avenues in which to educate voters on the economic impact on individual households if the tax district were to pass. On my blog, I’ll do whatever I can to communicate this. As for local media, it’s very doubtful that The Monitor will allow for any opposition to the tax district to be explained on its paper. In fact, just this past week, there were two articles released in which attempts were made to sell the tax district to its readers. Please get involved and join local organizations set up to oppose the Health Tax District.
Please visit http://prosperityhidalgopac.com/ a Local PAC Opposing the Tax District.
Please visit https://www.facebook.com/TOOMUCHTAX/ Prosperity Hidalgo Facebook page
Please visit and like https://www.facebook.com/VoteNoOn1Hidalgo/ An other page opposing Tax District.
Annoy Medic-gangters by placing No Health Care Tax Bumper Stickers on your car and signs in your yard.
Finally, after defeating the tax proposition once more. Attention needs to be turned towards compromised politicians that only serve particular special interest. Otherwise they will never stop forcing upon citizens what they do not want.
Credit to anonymousrgv for the above political contributions of Joe Flores. Credit to Breitbart.com for political disclosures of Ramon Garcia.