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Better times are coming (we hope)

So says City Controller Ronald Green in the Chron’s op-ed pages.

Officially, the U.S. recession has ended. We have certainly rounded the corner here in Houston. And while there is a loss here of public sector jobs, the private sector in Houston is hiring again – about 23,000 new jobs this year, significant but not near the typical 65,000 new jobs created annually pre-recession.

But we’re getting back.

And the city of Houston is getting back. I sense a new way of doing business here at the city, with employees dedicated to their jobs and serving the citizens, employees more cognizant than ever of the importance of efficiency in the workplace. Employees willing to pay a larger part of their benefit deductibles, willing to renegotiate pensions and willing to forgo raises.

That works as a short term fix for the city’s bottom line, but it’s not exactly good for the employees’ long term financial health. Green doesn’t give any figures for the 2012 budget year, perhaps because too much is in flux right now (*cough* *cough* debt ceiling *cough* *cough*), perhaps because they might contradict his sunny thesis. I hope like hell he’s right – I hope that in a few months we’ll be talking about what services we can restore instead of what else we can cut, but I’m going to wait to see some numbers before I get too optimistic.

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