In case I wasn't concerned enough about federal and state budget shortfalls, now we know that the CIty of Houston is $67 million in the hole. There is some good news in that this number spans the 2002 and 2003 fiscal years, but after that it's all taxes, fees, and cutbacks. This is going to be such a fun year, isn't it?I posted that yesterday, or I would have if my blog config hadn't changed under my nose. Here's the followup story in today's paper. Remarkably, for a polarized City Council and a mayor who's about as strong as a used Kleenex right now, there's not a lot of posturing and fingerpointing going on right now, unlike certain others in this situation.
As such, I'm trying to be hopeful that this will get dealt with in a mature manner. I'm not the only one grasping at any straw of hope, either:
As part of his budget presentation to council's fiscal affairs committee Wednesday, [city chief administrative officer Al] Haines noted that cities across Texas and the country are facing similar budget problems.
Dallas, for example, is looking at a projected shortfall of $90 million this year, and Austin faces a $58 million gap next year. The Houston Independent School District is expected to cut spending by $154 million next year.
It could be worse. Haines said Los Angeles could face a $500 million shortfall by 2005, and New York City is wrestling a $1.1 billion deficit.