Hidalgo Co citizens petition County Judge to end renewed health care tax push

Citizens of Hidalgo County have had enough with the health care taxing debate and are voicing their objection to Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia through an online petition.

The petition, created by resident Robert Bonds, seeks to obtain at least 500 signatures before being presented to Garcia, and the rest of the county commissioners.  As of Monday night, the petition has generated a little over 300 signatures.

The health care tax debate was reignited once again due to increase in support from local officials in favor of some form of health care funding.

State Rep, Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, who supported the two prior failed health care propositions, is at least favorable to seeing the UTRGV School of Medicine funded by local tax payers.

Perhaps what drew the most ire from citizens were the comments made from UTRGV School of Medicine Dean, John Krouse, speaking at a Health Care Forum sponsored by the Texas Tribune, that citizens had an obligation to “step up” and support the local health care industry with a  taxing district.

Supporters of health care funding believe that supporting the health care district, through taxes, would generate significant economic prosperity to the region.  Hinojosa has attributed some of the current economic growth to the establishment of the School of Medicine.

However, Bonds petition counters that argument by reminding readers that Hidalgo County position as one of the poorest in the state would be greatly affected by increase in taxes.

Here’s a excerpt from the petition:

Hidalgo County is one of the 5 poorest counties in Texas. At the heart of the Rio Grande Valley, 33.5 percent of Hidalgo County’s population lives in poverty. Home to McAllen and Edinburg, the county also has a high share of poor children with 45.5 percent of children living in poverty. Yet, Hidalgo County has a very high property tax rate. County residents pay 59 cents for $100 valuation — one of the highest rates in the state.

Citizens have at least one elected official coming on against the renewed health care talks. Mission Mayor Beto Salinas voiced his opposition through his official facebook page.

Salinas was one of the few elected officials opposing both 2014, and 2016’s Proposition 1, which sought to establish a health care taxing district. The proposition in 2016 went on to fail by a 72% margin.

It is unknown as of when Garcia will receive the petition, whether in person or by other means.

A link to the petition is provided below.

https://www.change.org/p/county-judge-ramon-garcia-no-medical-tax-district-in-hidalgo-county

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