Houston’s Democrat mayor says the city’s broke, was ‘broken when I got here’

Sorry, Houston. You’re “broke” and “broken.”

That was the message Democrat Mayor John Whitmire had for Houston residents.

In the face of an estimated current deficit of at least $160 million, Whitmire “is exploring a 5% across-the-board-cut to all aspects of City government, barring firefighters and police,” according to Fox 26.

“I think we can all agree on that, we are broke,” the mayor said. “This gives us a chance to discuss the financial picture of this City. It is broken! It was broken when I got here.”

Don’t blame Whitmire for the tax hike. He’s just doing his job.

“I don’t like a 5% cut now, but you have to make tough decisions and folks put me in this position to make tough decisions, and I’m going to do my job,” he stated.

(Video: YouTube)

Part of that job, according to Fox 26, involves a $650 million settlement to pay firefighters seven years of back pay and “an additional $180 million for annual wage hikes over the next five years.”

“Analysts say the deal delivers taxpayers a substantial discount from the amount an arbitrator would have likely awarded the aggrieved firefighters,” the outlet notes.

City Council Member Willie Davis says Houston has to make a “sacrifice.”

“This is going to come down to a financial sacrifice by the City. Now we can either be $1.2 billion broke or we can be $650 million broke,” Davis said.

Taxpayers may need to step up, because Houston had to settle, Whitmire explained.

“I’m not going to play games with people’s lives. I’m not going to play politics with people’s lives,” he said. “So we have a responsibility to settle with the firefighters and protect Houstonians.”

In his final “State of the City” address in Sept. 2023, former Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he was leaving office with a $420 million surplus.

“The budget surplus is largely thanks to $1 billion in federal recovery funds Houston received during the pandemic, which Turner has mostly used to cover city expenses while driving up its reserve account,” the Houston Chronicle reported at the time.

“A tax hike through a bond is expected in November,” the Daily Mail reports.

City Controller Chris Hollins confirmed, “That’s very likely what we’re looking at, going to the voters this November and saying, ‘Here’s the plan, here’s what it’s going to cost, and we’re asking you to chip in.'”

“It’s so crazy within 3 1/2 years how much destruction has been done,” one user wrote on X.

Meanwhile, “the Lone Star State is swimming in cash,” according to the Daily Mail.

“The Republican state, well-known for not having a state income tax, saw a nearly $33 billion surplus last year– more than the state budget of South Carolina,” the outlet reports. “Much of that is due to the hordes of people moving to Texas– with projections saying Dallas could overtake New York as the most populous city in the country by 2100.”

Melissa Fine


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