The budget prioritizes city services, includes funding for police and fire cadet classes, a commitment to improving neighborhoods, addresses homelessness and encampments, and increases further the response to illegal dumping. The budget also covers an 18% pay raise for Houston firefighters over three years.
"It is a balanced budget, and we are still meeting the priorities of this city," Mayor Turner said. "We are increasing the number of police officers, addressing police reforms, and we are providing core services."
Due to the pandemic, the City of Houston faced a record loss of revenue like most states and the country's local governments. The city estimated cumulative revenue losses of $178 million in Fiscal Year 2020, Fiscal Year 2021, and a portion of Fiscal Year 2022 alone.
"Sales tax is one of our hardest-hit sources with an expected $113 million cumulative loss for those fiscal years. Additionally, we are projecting $65 million in revenue losses from other sources such as Charges for Services, Parking Revenues, Mixed Beverage Tax, and others," said Mayor Turner at the time he rolled out the budget proposal.
The loss of revenue due to Covid-19 and the city's current property tax revenue cap created a $201 million budget shortage in the General Fund— the largest deficit in recent city history.
"Thankfully, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021, will provide the city with much-needed relief," said Mayor Turner.