Houston DSA Resolution #13: Endorsing Metro Transit Authority Prop A, or “METRO Next”

WHEREAS the Harris County Metropolitan Transit Authority (METRO) has put forward Metro Transit Authority Prop A, a ballot measure to create bond authority for the implementation of a public transit expansion popularly known as “METRO Next”;

WHEREAS the METRO Next plan represents a $3.5 billion public investment in transit infrastructure, including 75 miles of new bus rapid transit service, 16 miles of new light rail service, 110 miles of dedicated regional bus transit, and 290 miles of improved local bus service;

WHEREAS unlike highway projects, which are imposed on our communities for the benefit of the wealthy business interests and real estate developers, METRO Next is designed to seek and incorporate input from the communities it impacts and make decisions based on public need;

WHEREAS increasing ridership and participation in public transit is a positive step toward raising public consciousness around democratic decision-making, public ownership, and the necessity of de-commodifying public spaces, and growing public demand for more equitable transit infrastructure, urban planning, and development geared toward communities and human need;

WHEREAS transit is inextricably linked to housing justice, as one’s proximity to employment, education, health care, and public services is a function of one’s access to transit and affordable housing, all while Houston’s dependence on highways and automobiles underpins an economic structure that creates wealth for developers and landowners at the expense of the working class;

WHEREAS eliminating dependence on fossil fuels and rapidly moving to denser, more sustainable models of development are key components to reverse climate change, equitably address those effects of climate change already present, and build an ecologically sustainable economy and society;

WHEREAS in advancing the above the METRO Next plan furthers DSA’s vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships;

BE IT RESOLVED Houston DSA endorses a YES vote on Metro Transit Authority Prop A, METRO Next, and shall publicly advocate for this position through mass communication, voter contact, and other means.

Passed at the Houston DSA October 2019 General Meeting.

Houston DSA Resolution #12: Opposing Texas Prop 4, the Prohibit State Income Tax on Individuals Amen dment

WHEREAS, Texas Proposition 4, the Prohibit State Income Tax on Individuals Amendment, seeks to preclude future state legislatures from re-examining Texas’s tax policies via democratic discussion;

WHEREAS, Texas Proposition 4 intends to prevent a state income tax, a means of progressive taxation, from ever being levied, thereby leaving regressive methods of taxation as the only means for Texas to collect taxes;

WHEREAS, regressive taxation unfairly burdens lower-income and working-class families by having them pay a far larger share of their income than the upper class in taxation;

WHEREAS, regressive taxation, in particular sales taxes, exacerbate the rapid widening of income inequality between the elitist capitalist class and all others;

WHEREAS, Texas has the second-most regressive system of taxation amongst all states, with the current effective tax rate for the bottom 20 percent of wage-earners in Texas — more than quadruple the effective tax rate of the top 1 percent of wage-earners in Texas;

WHEREAS, states that utilize state income taxes come the closest to parity in effective tax rates across the income scale;

WHEREAS, states that rely on more progressive taxation are more likely  to experience the revenue growth needed to fund improvements to public goods such as schools, infrastructure, and healthcare programs;

WHEREAS, decisions regarding taxation should be made through democratic discussion  and should not be prohibited or made subject to dilatory tactics;

BE IT RESOLVED, the Houston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (Houston DSA) opposes Texas Proposition 4, the Prohibit State Income Tax on Individuals Amendment.

BE IT RESOLVED, Houston DSA endorses a “NO” vote on Texas Proposition 4 for the 2019 General Election.

BE IT RESOLVED, Houston DSA seeks to maintain an unencumbered democratic process so that future generations of Texans may decide what system of taxation works best for them rather than being constitutionally prohibited from doing so.

Passed at the Houston DSA October 2019 General Meeting.

Houston DSA endorses Ashton P. Woods for Houston City Council At-Large 5

July 12, 2019 — Houston DSA announces its endorsement of Ashton P. Woods’ candidacy for Houston City Council, At-Large Position 5.

Woods, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Houston, long-time community organizer, and Houston DSA member, received the chapter’s endorsement at its July 11 general meeting.

“Ashton’s vision for making Houston a more equitable city aligns fully with DSA’s values,” said Hannah Thalenberg, Houston DSA co-chair. “His campaign is guided by and accountable to impacted communities, and sets an example of how one can remain a grassroots organizer as a candidate and elected official.”

Ashton’s campaign is being funded by grassroots donors, run with the expertise of experienced, paid staff, and is supported by activists and organizations across the country, including Democracy for America and the Free Thought Equality Fund.

Houston DSA’s work on behalf of Ashton is designed to be educational and focus on issues, to target communities that have been neglected by other candidates, and to connect people to organizations who are doing social and economic justice work on the ground — all things that Ashton plans on continuing to do when elected.

“We look forward to fighting alongside Ashton to advance our vision for a more equitable, democratic Houston — where working people are empowered in our institutions, workplaces, and communities, where no one is marginalized, and where everyone’s voice is heard.”

For press inquiries, please contact info@houstondsa.org.

Houston DSA adopts resolution in support of Houston Firefighters’ struggle for pay equity and a fair contract

April 15, 2018 — Houston DSA announces its membership has adopted a resolution supporting the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association (IAFF Local 341) in their ongoing struggle for pay equity, and denouncing Mayor Sylvester Turner’s threats to lay off hundreds of firefighters and cut emergency services to some of Houston’s most vulnerable communities.

The resolution, adopted at Houston DSA’s general meeting held Thursday, April 11, calls on Mayor Turner to return to the bargaining table and negotiate a contract that phases in pay parity for firefighters, and further condemns the Mayor’s latest legal challenge to workers’ collective bargaining rights.

“At its root, this is a labor issue,” says Hannah Thalenberg, Houston DSA co-chair. “Mayor Turner’s actions are a threat to collective bargaining rights and to all working people across Texas.”

Houston DSA urges its membership and allies in the progressive community to call their council members and demand that they:

  • Reject any measure authorizing firefighter layoffs or cutting any fire and EMS services to Houstonians;
  • Strongly oppose the City’s lawsuit against the firefighters’ union as a dangerous attack on workers’ rights;
  • Fully fund city workers and services by repealing the revenue cap, which disproportionately benefits the wealthy at the expense of working-class Houstonians.

The full language of the resolution is included below. For press inquiries, please contact info@houstondsa.org.

Harvey Relief

As Harvey sits over Texas, the destruction of local Southeast Texas communities continues. We in the Houston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America are organizing aid efforts for those affected by the storm. With severe initial damage in the region around Rockport and Corpus Christi, Harvey is stalling over Southeast Texas and will bring flooding rains over the next few days to the whole region. This will extend and exacerbate the disaster.

Continue reading “Harvey Relief”

Press Release for Sunday’s Culberson Protest

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

Contact: Nick Bunce

Phone: (832) 930-6583

Email: houstontxdsa@gmail.org

 

HOUSTON DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA AND ALLIED GROUPS ORGANIZE PROTEST OF REP. CULBERSON’S DISASTEROUS VOTE TO REPEAL AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

 

MAY 5, 2017

 

HOUSTON, TX – The Houston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (Houston DSA) is allying with local groups, such as Indivisible Houston, to organize a protest against Representative John Culberson’s vote in favor of the American Health Care Act (HR 1628; aka, AHCA). The protest will take place on Sunday, May 7, 2017 from 2:00 – 5:00pm in front of the office of Rep. Culberson (R) at 10000 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77024.

Houston DSA and Indivisible Houston aim to bring attention to the millions of Americans that will lose health insurance coverage under this act and to denounce the elimination of rules prohibiting insurance companies discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions such as, asthma, cancer, pregnancy and even sexual assault. While communities in Houston will suffer under this new law, it cuts $350 billion in taxes for the wealthiest 1%.

Furthermore, Houston DSA and allied groups firmly call for both parties to take up HR 676, which would enact Medicare for All. Medicare for all (or single payer) is broadly popular with a 58% approval rating according to Gallup polling. Just as Obamacare will reduce the rolls of the uninsured by 24 million at the last estimate compared to the AHCA, Single Payer will reduce that number by a further 28 million people. So, the moral imperative for single payer is clear. Now more than ever, we need a health care system that leaves no one behind and doesn’t bankrupt our families.

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ABOUT HOUSTON DSA – Houston DSA is the Houston local of the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the country. We fight for more democracy — in our politics, workplaces, and communities. Our members are building and supporting progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in U.S. communities and politics through activism, political education, and community organization.

ABOUT INDIVISIBLE HOUSTON – Indivisible Houston is a chapter of the grassroots movement based on the principles outlined in the Indivisible Guide. We are dedicated to uniting Houston’s eight congressional districts to oppose the agenda of the Trump White House. We do this by pressuring members of Congress to represent their constituents and obstruct authoritarianism.

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