Opposition, supporters for Houston's Proposition B turn out for early voting

HOUSTON – Supporters of Proposition B rallied Thursday near an early voting location in downtown Houston.  One supporter told prospective voters, "It's at the bottom of your ballot, at the center of your heart."

If passed, Proposition B would force the city to raise firefighters’ pay to the level of Houston police officers.

“Proposition B is an exceptionally bad public policy that is being foisted on the public as some kind of, I'll call it, high school popularity contest,” said Greater Houston Partnership President Bob Harvey.

Harvey joined two other business groups and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to say Proposition B would be bad for Houston.  Harvey said, "The fire union wants to reduce this to, 'If you like me, vote for proposition B.'  In fact, we do like our firefighters, and more importantly, we appreciate and respect the work that the firefighters do."

Turner said Proposition B would cost more than $100 million in the first year for what he said amounted to a 29 percent pay increase.  He said its passage would mean layoffs and cutting city services.  

Turner said, "The city simply cannot afford that." 

The Houston Professional Firefighters Union did not respond to the business leaders’ claims Thursday.

Union President Patrick Lancton told KPRC 2 earlier this month, "We are not going to play politics on the backs of the men and women who put their lives on the line every day who have rights under state law.  And that this mayor has consistently shown his vindictiveness towards the firefighters and his willingness to go as far as he can."

Early voting is now underway, and Election Day is Nov. 6.