Houston Councilmembers Submit Their Wish Lists For The Annual Budget

Next Wednesday Houston City councilmembers will vote on the city's annual budget for the next fiscal year. In anticipation of that vote — they submitted a number of amendments today.

Most of the city's 16 councilmembers submitted at least one or two amendments.

Councilmember Wanda Adams submitted the most with a total of nine proposals.

Still, Houston Mayor Annise Parker says there were fewer budget amendments this year than in years past.

"We have a clear philosophical divide. There are councilmembers that want to cut revenues and there are councilmembers who want to increase spending, some in the millions of dollars. You can't do both."

Several councilmembers submitted amendments to raise the city's homestead exemption for senior citizens to match the limit set by Harris County.

That proposal could cost the city millions of dollars in property tax revenue.

There were also several requests to fund after-school and summer jobs programs, to the tune of several million dollars. Parker says she's not opposed to either idea, but councilmembers will have to figure out how to crunch the numbers.

"The budget is balanced today. If councilmembers decide to cut — do some tax relief, that will reduce revenues. They are going to have to cut spending."

Councilmembers will debate and vote on the amendments and overall budget next week in what will likely be an hours-long marathon meeting.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...