Frequently Asked Questions - Q38


Question:

The proposed amendment indexes the initial affected fiscal year back to the City’s fiscal year ended June 30, 2001. Won’t that present a financial impossibility, a requirement that the City give back to Houstonians “excess” total revenues in the intervening years, as well as begin the initial covered year at a total revenue base much less than that actually experienced in the last pre-amendment fiscal year? Isn’t this even more of a problem in that the City claims to have serious problems in meeting its current budget?

Answer:

Citizens For Public Accountability furnished the mayor, city controller and each council member a letter right after they were sworn into office in January 2002, warning them of the impending charter amendment election and the indexing to fiscal 2001. But the amendment does not require that the City give back to Houstonians any “excess” revenues received by the City during the intervening years between fiscal 2001 and the first fiscal year of implementation. It merely requires that the City be in compliance beginning with the first fiscal year commencing after voters approve the amendment, using fiscal 2001 as the base year. That should be relatively easy, for a number of reasons. There is a great amount of fat in the City budget, as spelled out in detail in various unanswered reports to the mayor, city controller and each council member by Citizens For Public Accountability. Further, the City complied with the revenue cap under the proposed amendment for fiscal 2002, and will be in compliance for fiscal 2003, based upon the City’s latest revenue forecast.



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