Houston Mayor Turner avoids major layoffs with new layoffs

HOUSTON (TIP): Mayor Sylvester Turner said Friday, April 15 he’s found a way to save more than a thousand city jobs with his new budget.

Turner’s budget will cut 90 jobs, but he says it could have been much worse because of a $160-million shortfall.

The mayor’s new budget scrapes up the money from a variety of sources. For example, it will take almost $20 million from the TIRZ’s – the tax increment reinvestment zones – like the one that picks up the trash downtown and maintains Buffalo Bayou Park.

The budget also relies on a lot of one-time, non-recurring sources of income, like selling unused property owned by the city.

“I can’t print money. It’s not falling from the sky. And I think that’s what people have to understand,” Mayor Turner said. “You cannot assume that everything is going to remain the same when you’re facing a $160-million shortfall.”
The mayor plans to add another police cadet class. He says none of the job cuts will come from the police or fire departments.

But there’s a huge red flag waving here. If it weren’t for those one-time revenue sources like selling unused property, the mayor says he would’ve faced laying off 1,235 city employees.

If city leaders can’t fix the city’s pension problems with the help of the state legislature next year, Turner says they’re looking at layoffs on that scale in his 2017 budget.

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