News from February 2020
Truth in Accounting released their annual Financial State of the Cities report which breaks down the annual financial reports from the nation’s 75 most populous cities. Notably, the report found that 63 of the cities did not have enough funding to pay all of their bills, meaning they deferred much of these costs onto future taxpayers. They also found that the collective debt for all 75 cities totaled more than $320 billion.
By Urban Reform
Apartment List just released their 2020 Renter Migration Report detailing where renters in major American metros are moving to and from. The report found that 22.7 percent of apartment hunters currently living in Houston are looking to move somewhere else, while 35.6 percent of those looking for a place to live in Houston are searching from outside of the metro area.
In an effort to reduce traffic congestion, increase air quality, and speed up travel times, Houston blogger and Fellow with the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, Tory Gattis, is proposing that Harris County’s transportation agency implement a free-fair policy going forward. Last year, Gattis encouraged Metro Chairman Carrin Patman and the rest of the board to halt approval of $100 million in new fare-collection equipment because they’d only be collecting $70 million in revenue.
Just ahead of Election Day, mayoral candidate Bill King held a press conference in Kingwood rolling out his plan to address chronic flooding in the area. He focused on the need to dredge the mouthbar – a sandbar at the mouth of the San Jacinto River – and the city’s failure to do so, so far.
In a speech on Wednesday, Houston’s Mattress Mack endorsed Mayor Sylvester Turner’s campaign for reelection: “The mayor of Houston must be concerned – indeed obsessed – with helping the people of Houston. That’s why I’m here today to support Mayor Sylvester Turner..."
Houston mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee held a press conference calling for an independent investigation into Mayor Sylvester Turner and the hiring of Airport System intern, Marvin Agumagu.
Further escalating the fight between Mayor Sylvester Turner’s administration and employees of the Houston Fire Department, more than 90 district chiefs signed a letter calling for a vote of “no confidence” in Fire Chief Sam Peña.
On Monday, both Bill King and Tony Buzbee released their versions of a flood control plan while Mayor Sylvester Turner released his plan to encourage the spread of “green” stormwater development to mitigate flooding. King held a press conference Monday morning where he laid out his 7-point plan to reduce flooding in the city.
When Houston passed its Historic Preservation Ordinance, supporters promised leery property owners that its passage wouldn’t mean government intrusion in every aspect of redeveloping private property in “historic” areas. Eight years later, it seems as though that has changed.
Ahead of a Thursday stop in Houston to launch his “Mike for Black America” initiative, presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg received the endorsement of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. The endorsement comes after a tough week for Bloomberg who has been criticized after an audio recording surfaced of making racially charged comments about his stop and frisk policy while serving as Mayor of New York.
President Trump is creating a new channel to funnel additional resources into underserved communities through the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s Opportunity Zones provision, which ushers in a range of tax cuts to catalyze job growth in poor communities.
One in four tenants spent more than half of their income on rent in 2018, according to a recent report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. This works out to be 10.9 million renters, with 6 million considered cost-burdened in 2018 than they were in 2001.
A recent report released by San Antonio shows that more than 18 percent of city residents lived in poverty in 2018.