Even before federal approval or a shovel hitting the ground, the only benefit of LNG industrialization at the Port of Brownsville has dried up because of tax giveaways. The County is now scrambling for money for much needed projects. In a perplexing move, Cameron County is asking the most vulnerable people to vote to increase their taxes to fund needs that could have been easily funded by taxing the billion dollar LNG companies who have nowhere else to locate but the Port of Brownsville.
After awarding Annova LNG millions of dollars in tax breaks on October 1, Cameron County is proposing to increase taxes for the second time this year. To be decided in a special election in November, Cameron County is proposing to impose a sales and use tax at a rate of 2%. Previously in September, an increase on property taxes was passed by Cameron County Commissioners. While Cameron County reaches out to the pockets of the people, they are not bashful to give away hundreds of millions of dollars to LNG companies.
The details of the tax abatement awarded to Annova LNG have not yet been made public, however it is in addition to the $373 million tax break for Rio Grande LNG awarded in October, 2017. Notably, property taxes were also raised shortly after Rio Grande LNG was awarded their tax break.
Community members site concerns at Commissioners meeting October 1, 2019.
Cities of South Padre, Port Isabel, Laguna Vista and over 40 organizations and businesses
also opposed a tax abatement for Annova LNG
Cameron County is proposing to create a Cameron County Assistance District and impose a 2% sales and use tax within the boundaries of the District. The County has identified rural needs that would benefit public health and welfare such as, but not limited to, street lights, mosquito spraying, disaster response, fire prevention services, law enforcement, road construction and maintenance, maintenance or improvement of public libraries and parks. The district is county-wide in rural unincorporated areas except for those areas that are within territories of any one of the 17 cities, towns, or villages within the county.
The special election for Cameron County Proposition A is November 5, 2019. Early voting will be held in the days prior to Election Day.
Publishers note: Judge Eddie Trevino and Commissioner David Garza opposed the Annova tax abatement.