A government watchdog gives the city of Houston a "D" for its budget management.
Truth in Accounting's annual “Financial State of the Cities” report shows Houston's overall debt burden is $7.4 billion, costing each taxpayer roughly $11,300 each year.
Dallas’ Taxpayer Burden is $21,600 and Fort Worth’s Taxpayer Burden is $12,500, with retiree benefits as the driving force.
“They have been claiming their budgets are balanced while charging the pension and retiree health care costs, which the employees have earned and the city is liable for. But they have not been including those in their balanced budget calculations,” says TIA founder and CEO Sheila Weinberg.
“Those type of things cause the citizens' trust to be deteriorated,” she says. “Their trust in government goes away and therefore they really don't feel like participating in their governments.”
TIA is pushing "fact-based" budgeting “where you couldn't do these pension schemes and where you had to include all your bills in the balanced-budget calculations,” says Weinberg.