Houston City Council Approves New Budget

Mayor Annise Parker says the $4.9 billion dollar budget doesn't contain the painful spending cuts the city was forced to make in previous budgets. There's new revenue this time around, about $42 million dollars. 

About $22 million of that money is dedicated to raises for city workers. Ten million goes into the rainy day fund. 

"We budget both revenues and expenses conservatively and we fully expect revenues to come in above what we have projected.  First out of the box, council members voted to not spend that new revenue but to roll it over into next year."

Among numerous amendments to the 2014 budget — council members voted to raise the property tax exemption for seniors. The new exemption is $80,000. That's about a $9000 increase from the previous exemption. 

City Council Parker says the move will cost the city about $3.8 million. 

"We do not anticipate it will be a problem in this budget.  It's not going to have a direct impact in this budget. It will, however, mean that we will have less money going into next fiscal year." 

Parker originally presented the budget without raising that exemption but she says she was willing to make compromises in order to get her budget proposal approved.  

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