A group of Amarillo residents gathered at the Amarillo Civic Center this week to express their opposition to tax increases and a record $275 million bond they’re being asked to pay for.
Billed as an “Amarillo Drain the Swamp” rally, Amarillo City Council’s noon meeting on Tuesday was attended by citizens protesting the tax increase and the city’s $275 million bond proposal for the November election, which would fund a number of downtown projects (some of which have been rejected by Amarillo voters in the past).
Richard Herman, an Amarillo conservative activist and former Republican justice of the peace in Potter County, was among the protesters at the meeting. Herman said his opposition to the tax increase is in large part due to the current state of the economy, thanks to coronavirus-related shutdowns.
“[They] locked people down, and people couldn’t work,” Herman said. “Now they want to raise our taxes? Come on now. It doesn’t take someone with a GED to figure out that doesn’t work.”
Amarillo resident Jesse Pfrimmer also expressed opposition to the tax increases and the bond election, citing past financial issues at city hall.
“We already bought a ballpark using hotel taxes,” Pfrimmer said. “We already bought a parking garage with hotel taxes. Hotel taxes should’ve been set aside for the civic center. I’m against the tax increase because I don’t feel like we can manage money well.”
However, the protesters’ voices were not heard by city council, which unanimously passed the tax increase during Tuesday’s meeting.
While today’s tax increase passed, voters still have an opportunity to decide the bond in November. Early voting in that race begins on October 13.