City Budget & Finance

City Budget & Finance

Houston needs a mayor who knows how to efficiently deploy resources and get the absolute most for our public dollars.  We have to be more efficient. Because I’m not taking campaign donations, and am not actively seeking endorsements, I will have the freedom to do what is necessary to ensure we provide core services, and also balance the budget. All too often, a candidate promises to do something, but then gets into office and won’t do it because it is contrary to his campaign donors’ interests, or to those who endorsed him. Not me. And, too often politicians and government bureaucrats complain that they don’t have enough money for core city services yet they have no problems finding money for a pet project – or worse – they give multi-million dollar contracts to their friends, donors, or former partners.

I’ve overseen big budgets as a Texas A&M Regent. I’ve learned all the tricks of how large beaurocratic organizations spend money. As a business owner of a large, successful law firm, I know how to hire employees, train them, motivate them, and manage them. I’ve owned shopping centers and apartment complexes, and know about capital projects, permitting, construction, and renovation. I’ve built retail businesses from the ground up, staffed them, and sold them. Over the years, I’ve come to understand budgets, management, and how to keep a business going and make it successful. For every expenditure, I’ve learned to ask “why,” and if we can do it for less. And, the most important thing I’ve learned is to surround myself with smart budget experts and verify their recommendations. I won’t have all the answers, but I do know how to find the answers.

Every bureaucracy will spend every available dollar—it’s the nature of government. I think we can do better. I believe in zero-based or performance-based budgeting; that means deciding how much money we need to provide services, rather than deciding how much we have and then deciding how to spend it—all of it. I also believe we can provide all the services our residents expect but also be efficient. I will also be looking to save taxpayer dollars. As a Marine, we learned to do more, with less. That’s the type of mayor I will be. When I’m mayor, everything will be on the table. Let’s provide effective and timely service, all the while with an eye to saving taxpayer money. That’s what I’m about.

One of the issues that constantly comes up in Houston is the complete lack of transparency at city hall. We should know where every penny is spent. When I’m Mayor, we will have metrics that every resident can review, to see how the city is doing. And, we will make every department transparent–everyone should be able to see what is being spent, what it is being spent on, and how we are performing. Like other issues we face, I have already begun collecting subject matter experts on the various components of the city’s budget. These experts will never be paid by the city, but are willing to assist because they want the same as me—the best for the city. Through our work, it is already clear that there are substantial monies that we can save. More details will be forthcoming, some of which are set forth below.