City of Houston

Mayor Turner Touts Houston’s Economic Health In State Of The City Message

Mayor Sylvester Turner pointed to regular balanced budgets, low unemployment and a 50% drop in unfunded pension liabilities since he took office.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner giving his State of the City address.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner used his annual message to the Greater Houston Partnership to tout the city’s economic health. But Turner offered few new ideas as he heads into an election.

Mayors typically use the State of the City address to roll out major policy initiatives, but Turner spent much of the speech trying to make the case that he’d been a good steward of the city government and deserved another term.

“Since 2016, City Council has approved three balanced budgets, and this fourth budget will be without layoffs or deferrals, and it will fund five police cadet classes for public safety,” Turner said. The speech came just days after a judge invalidated voter-mandated raises for firefighters, passed as Proposition B, which would have required hundreds of such layoffs.

Turner cited Houston’s unemployment rate as the lowest since 1981. He also discussed the state of pension reform, saying the city’s unfunded pension liabilities have dropped to $4 billion from $8 billion when he took office.

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Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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