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Mayor Turner: Tuesday’s Election Will Set Houston’s ‘Financial Course For Years To Come’

Proposition A would allow the City to issue $1 billion in pension obligation bonds and it is essential for the mayor’s pension reform plan to succeed

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wants to develop new strategies for how housing should be built in the post-Harvey era and he thinks new guidelines to protect houses from flooding are important.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in an archive image showing him addressing the media after a City Council meeting.

Mayor Sylvester Turner says this Tuesday’s election will set the City of Houston’s “financial course for years to come.”

Turner made that remark in a news release distributed by his press office and also highlighted that passing any of the propositions included in the ballot would not cause any raise in taxes.

Proposition A would allow the City to issue $1 billion in pension obligation bonds to make payments to the pension systems that have been deferred in the past.

The passage of this proposition is essential for Turner’s pension reform plan to become a reality, so the mayor has much at stake.

University of Saint Thomas’ political science professor Jon Taylor thinks that if Proposition A fails, “you are probably looking at layoffs and I’m guessing, from what the mayor suggested, maybe 10 percent of the City workforce to try to cover the issues related to the pension shortfall.”

The other propositions are also related to issuing bonds and have to do with providing $159 million for improvements at neighborhood police stations and fire stations citywide, as well as providing $104 million for improvements at local parks.

The rest of the propositions also have to do with issuing bonds for a variety of goals, including renovating health facilities, sanitation and recycling, as well as improvements at City libraries.

According to the office of Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart, 46,224 people participated in early voting, which ended last Friday.

Taylor doesn’t think the turnout will be significant because “there’s no mayor’s race or city council race to drive this off year election” and “in general there’s just not much to hold people’s interest.”

“I’ll be surprised countywise if we get anywhere close to, say, anywhere between 55,000 and 80,000, somewhere in there total number of votes,” adds Taylor, who thinks Proposition A will pass based on the support by the police and municipal employees unions.

The ballot also presents several constitutional amendments to voters, including one related to exemptions for homes of disabled veterans and another one that has to do with removing certain expense limitations for home equity loans.

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