Houston Matters

Mayor Calls for Changes to the City’s Revenue Cap

When Bill White was mayor, Houstonians approved a cap on the amount of revenue the city of Houston can amass each year. While the cap — tied to the combined rates of inflation and population growth — is designed to encourage fiscal responsibility, it’s placed the city in a bit of a bind, forcing property […]

When Bill White was mayor, Houstonians approved a cap on the amount of revenue the city of Houston can amass each year. While the cap — tied to the combined rates of inflation and population growth — is designed to encourage fiscal responsibility, it’s placed the city in a bit of a bind, forcing property tax cuts last year to the tune of $53 million. And next year, the cap meets rising pensions and debt payments, which leave the city with a projected deficit of $126 million. Mayor Annise Parker wants City Council — and then Houston voters — to consider lifting or altering the cap. But she’ll be out office in six months. So if that doesn’t happen now, it will be up to the next mayor and city council to address the deficit and perhaps revisit the cap. The major mayoral candidates are split over what to do.

We talk with Houston Chronicle city hall reporter Katherine Driessen about the revenue cap, how it works, and what altering or lifting it might do. We’ll also share the views of the seven major mayoral candidates.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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