Pessimistic Budget Rhetoric By Houston Mayoral Candidates Irks Some City Officials

If you’ve been following the campaign for Houston mayor, you might think the city is in a serious budget crisis. But how bad is it?

photo of city council
City Controller Ronald Green, left, and Houston Director of Finance Kelly Dowe brief city council members on the budget in June.
Candidates for mayor bring it up all the time: Houston, we have a budget problem.

Some of those currently occupying elected office for the city of Houston argue it's not that bad.

At this week's city council meeting, Council member Dwight Boykins had a request for the city's financial officers.

"Can you both do me a favor?" he asked. "To all those candidates that (are) running for mayor, set the record straight on TV that our city is not bleeding."

City Controller Ronald Green was happy to comply.

"We have some challenges," he said. "So please, if anybody is talking about the challenges over the next few years, we absolutely have those challenges. Is this a city that is about to be bankrupt? Absolutely not."

A newly released white paper by the Greater Houston Partnership confirms this assessment.

It says while Houston is enjoying some of the most solid growth in the nation, it's expenses – especially employee pensions – that present a serious challenge going forward.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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