The Office of the City Controller has released the most recent City of Houston Annual Comprehensive Financial Report for the fiscal year ending June 2022, which provides a snapshot of the City's overall financial position and a detailed look at the City's finances.
Based on the report, the City's financial health is the strongest in 10 years, a result of several policy reforms implemented by Mayor Sylvester Turner's administration, in addition to careful planning and strategic management of federal COVID-19 funding.
The City's net position, which is a strong indicator of a government's financial standing, was the highest in the last ten years at $5.9 billion as of the end of FY22, an increase of $2.2 billion compared to FY21.
The improved financial standing resulted from historic pension reform in 2017 and other policy reforms. When Mayor Turner was elected, the unfunded pension liability was approximately $8.2 billion and rising. Since the City enacted reforms, the liability decreased to $1.49 billion in FY21, but with the market volatility it is currently at an estimated $2.2 billion.
"I encourage every taxpayer and every Houstonian to read the report. My administration promised fiscal responsibility, and that is what we have delivered. The goal is to keep moving in a positive trajectory throughout 2023," said Mayor Turner.
Following the onset of the global pandemic, the City swiftly responded to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 under Mayor Turner's leadership and effectively utilized the $405 million in federal funds received under the Coronavirus Relief Fund program.
"I want to acknowledge the Biden Administration for signing the American Rescue Plan and helping cities across the country during the pandemic. As a result, we were able to provide critical services and avoid laying off hundreds of employees. Now that the sales tax is steady and strong, there are expenses that will go beyond 2024, and those financial obligations need to be met," said Mayor Turner. “My administration has delivered on our promise to bring sound financial management to the City of Houston. We have addressed the pension issue and done significant work addressing Other Postemployment Benefits (OPEB). I am proud of what we have accomplished together.”