Houston is confusing Polimom half to death lately.
Between the Chronicle’s myopic editorial and Eric Berger’s provocative article yesterday (and reactions to them), one would think that Houston had unlimited choices when they finally started evacuating people from New Orleans last September.
But nearly half of the hospital district’s budget comes directly from local taxpayers, a fact that has led some county officials to grumble about the long-term financial considerations of absorbing many of the estimated 150,000 Louisianans still living in the Houston area.
“It should be obvious to a lot of people that you have a situation in which Mayor White and Judge Eckels, in the middle of the night, made a decision that will have economic consequences for the taxpayers of Harris County and the city of Houston for years to come,” said County Commissioner Steve Radack.
“It’s necessary to have your heart and your thoughts, but I also think it’s incumbent on those two elected leaders to analyze the potential economic consequences and to at least have consulted with more than themselves on getting some type of assurance that all of these new citizens wouldn’t have to be supported by an already overstrapped tax base.”
People seem to be forgetting that most of those who came from Louisiana are now contributing to that very same Houston tax base. Hello?
Polimom’s been playing “What If” games today, trying to imagine alternative scenarios for Houston. “What If” evacuees hadn’t had housing help? “What If” Houston had said it could only take… say… (pick a number here) 50,000 people?
“What If”…but every game I play loops, because Houston was the only city within reasonable distance of New Orleans big enough to take in this many people. And that’s really what it boils down to.
Without the housing help, gifts, donations – all the extraordinary generosity shown by Houstonians in those first months – Polimom thinks we’d have the same problems we’re seeing now, but they’d have manifested much sooner and be magnified exponentially.
If you think this could have been handled some other way, I’d sure love to hear how… because I just don’t see it.
Update Feb 27 5:30pm: Thundering silence. I’m shocked.