Stopping Increased Taxes and Spending
Since being elected Mayor, we have stopped the property tax rate increases.
- Former Mayor Herb Gears increased property taxes on Irving citizens by 7% in order to pay for the vast increases in spending he promoted.
Over the past three years, we no longer spend more than our City receives from the hard work of our citizens. Instead of having budget shortfalls, we are now realizing budget surpluses which will hopefully allow us to make tax cuts or adjustments to lower the burden on Irving property owners.
- Under Mayor Gears, spending was out-of-control, our debt rose to record levels, and credit rating agencies were lowering Irving's status because of the poor fiscal management.
Promoting Legitimate Economic Development
Good economic development starts with sound planning and succeeds because of competent management. In the last three years, Irving has attracted forty-three new corporate relocations that are helping to drive new construction and expand our tax base from $16.5 billion in 2011 to over $18 billion in 2013. This is the kind of growth and investment that creates real opportunities for Irving.
I am committed to help further economic growth by attracting more corporate relocations coupled with responsible development of Heritage Crossing in South Irving, the Diamond Interchange in Central Irving, and The Urban Center in North Irving. These combined projects are expected to help accelerate further mixed use development, single family home construction, and vibrant urban areas which attract younger residents. All of which is important to help attract new businesses, more long-term residents, and afford Irving citizens more opportunities to live, work, and play in a safe and welcoming environment.
The Wrong Kind of "Economic Development"
During the years of Herb Gears, Irving taxpayers saw tens of millions of their hard-earned dollars wasted on fraudulent projects which never even broke ground: the Irving Entertainment Center and the McDougal Development were the worst examples of this vast waste.
As investigations by reporter Brett Shipp of Channel 8 later showed (http://www.wfaa.com/news/investigates/irving-108312179.html), instead of going to construction costs our tax dollars were being spent on exorbitant salaries for "consultants", luxury hotels, expensive restaurants, first-class plane tickets, and even limousine drivers.
That lavish spending then flowed back to Herb Gears: It is no wonder that after showering these "consultants" with tens of millions of Irving tax dollars, that they would then turn around and make enormous donations to Gears' re-election campaign – all told, over $1,000,000 was shoveled to Herb Gears to try and keep him in office so the gravy-train would not end.
Citizens have the right to know how and why decisions are made, who are the interested and benefitting parties, how much of their tax dollars are being spent and on what information decisions are based. It is YOUR money, after all. This is a fact I not forgotten during my time as Mayor and six-year tenure on city council.
Under the previous Mayor, televised access to Citizen's Forum portion of City Council meetings was shut down. Backroom deals and a serious lack of transparency existed. This is one of the main reasons citizens of Irving chose to elect me in 2011.
Since my election, we have turned the cameras back on so Irving citizens can view, and judge for themselves, the actions of the city council. We have also moved the Citizen's Forum/public input section of our council meetings to the beginning of our meetings instead of at the end where they were previously relegated. Additionally, we have held regularly scheduled town hall meetings to directly answer questions and ensure we are being held accountable.