BY RAY HANKAMER
Chris Brown was quick to explain that he came from a real estate oriented family, and that an MBA, a stint with an investment banking firm, and six years as Deputy City Controller gave him not only experience for his job as Chief Financial Officer for the City, but experience to speak to a large room full of commercial real estate people. Brown focused on several topics:
- The revenue cap passed by voters a few years ago leaves the City ‘handcuffed’ when it comes to funding the services needed by our burgeoning growth
- Additional / alternative taxes under consideration include CBD congestion tax; tax on short term residential rentals, aka VRBO and AirBNB; encouraging greater density of development, concentrating more taxable assets on smaller tracts; commuter tax on those who live outside Houston but who commute in and use City services; and others
- Taxes for still unfunded City personnel obligations going forward, now that pension reform has been accomplished
- City policies encourage developers to build ‘up’ and not ‘out’ -high rise instead of low rise – further intensifying taxable base on finite land inside City limits
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