Houston Matters

How National Politics Impact Houston’s Global Economy

Posted on · Houston recently hosted a trade delegation from Cuba. It’s one example of how Houston is part of the larger global economy. That stands in contrast to what appears to be happening on the national level, as President Donald Trump signs executive orders that seem to take the completely opposite approach. And, after the White House […]

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Houston’s Global Economy, and Pet Care Advice: Monday’s Show (February 13, 2017)

Posted on · Houston recently hosted a trade delegation from Cuba. It’s one example of how Houston is part of the larger global economy. That stands in contrast to what appears to be happening on the national level, as President Donald Trump signs executive orders that seem to take the completely opposite approach. And, after the White House […]

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Raising a Transgender Son, and the 80’s Oil Bust: Houston Matters Weekend for January 14, 2017

Posted on · LGBT rights continue to be a divisive issue in this country, with battles waging inside the legislature and courts of North Carolina making news. Now Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s Senate Bill 6 has been filed and mimics the very language that has cost North Carolina millions of dollars thus far. The bill isn’t that surprising. Last May, […]

Houston Matters

What Was the 1980s Houston Oil Bust Really Like?

Posted on · Slogging through an economic slowdown after a period of rapid growth can be frustrating. It can also be easy to lose perspective. To gets some of that perspective, we travel back in time 30 years to July of 1986, with the help of Houston Matters’ new WABAC machine (…also with the help of an area economist, […]

Houston Matters

Another Drop in Houston’s Bond Rating: How Will It Affect City Finances?

Posted on · Moody’s Investors Service last week (March 16, 2016) downgraded the city of Houston’s bond rating, citing low oil prices, falling sales tax revenues, unfunded pension obligations and property tax caps among the reasons. We discuss how the city’s rating drop from Aa2 to Aa3 might affect some $3 billion in previously issued bonds and why […]

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Bond Rating Downgrade and Kinky Friedman: Tuesday’s Show (March 22, 2016)

Posted on · Moody’s Investors Service last week (March 16, 2016) downgraded the city of Houston’s bond rating, citing low oil prices, falling sales tax revenues, unfunded pension obligations, and property tax caps among the reasons. On this edition of Houston Matters, we discuss how the city’s rating drop from Aa2 to Aa3 may affect some $3 billion […]

Houston Matters

How Realistic is Solving Houston’s Pension Problem with Oil Prices So Low?

Posted on · The problem is well-documented by now. The City of Houston has growing and unfunded pension obligations to meet but is limited by state control and a revenue cap. Back in September, the Houston-based nonprofit Laura and John Arnold Foundation laid out this challenge facing the city in a report entitled “Swamped: How Pension Debt is […]

Houston Matters

Could Houston Become Another Detroit?

Posted on · Moody’s Investors Service recently affirmed the City of Houston’s Aa2 credit rating. It’s a good grade, based on a generally robust economy. But Moody’s also changed its outlook for Houston from “stable” to “negative.” Why? The city’s growing pension costs — $3 billion and counting. Houston is hardly the only city in America facing looming pension obligations, […]

Houston Matters

Flush with Revenue, Should Texas Cut Property Taxes or Pay for Long-Overdue Projects?

Posted on · Tyler Republican State Sen. Kevin Eltife is working to build support for a combination of bills he believes will provide both a property tax cut and set a path to spend money on deferred road maintenance and paying off some pension liabilities, among other state needs. Eltife argues that while the state is unusually flush […]

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Property Tax Cuts, Parks, and ‘Once’ on Stage: Tuesday’s Show (March 10, 2015)

Posted on ·   Tyler Republican State Sen. Kevin Eltife is working to build support for a combination of bills he believes will provide both a property tax cut and set a path to spend money on deferred road maintenance and paying off some pension liabilities, among other state needs. Eltife argues that while the state is unusually […]