Houston's mayor says the city overall is doing well, but could be doing much better.
“Our city has long been revered as the energy capital of the world, and we are. The most diverse city in America, and we are. And a global leader in health care, manufacturing, the port, NASA and logistics, and we are.”
However, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Thursday in his state of the city address that long term structural changes are needed to solve a projected $122 million deficit.
“We will deliver a proposed balanced budget to city council next week that incorporates structural improvements and moves us toward our goal of sustainable structural budget balance with minimal employee layoffs,” he said.
However, the mayor said his plan to house the city's homeless was dealt a major blow when Congress cut funding. “And I know that its not something we are proud of when we go to our games and see people out there on our sidewalks, I understand that.”
Mayor Turner also said Houston has fallen behind in terms of technology and innovation.
“Our region was ranked 31st in the nation in venture capital investment and third in the state of Texas, which is totally not acceptable for the fourth, soon to be the third largest city in the country.”
But a task force Turner appointed last year is now working with the Greater Houston Partnership to reverse that trend.
“The launch of a funds-to-funds model that will bring venture capital to the region and help our employers leverage innovation pathways, a model that has proven in other markets like Michigan and Cincinnati,” he said.
The plan also includes an "innovation district" to better compete against other major cities and keep college grads from leaving Houston.