It’s been four months since the majority of voters said “yes” to Houston firefighter pay raises, but funding for Proposition B is still a hot topic.
Following the failed Democratic National Convention bid and a widely talked about radio appearance by Mayor Sylvester Turner, Proposition B is on a lot of people’s minds lately.
The idea of Prop B is for firefighters to get paid the same as police officers with similar experience and rank, which most voters clearly want to happen. However, the challenge in this has been for the city to figure out how to pay for it.
In a radio interview with Houston Public Media on Tuesday, Mayor Turner explained he’s honoring the will of the voters by putting Prop B into effect, but reminding everyone there was no revenue source attached to the proposition that passed.
Part of the mayor’s plan includes implementing Prop B in May of this year, so the firefighters would get the pay raise retroactive to January of this year in a lump sum.
That will cost the city $31 million for those first six months. He says that money would come from the city's Fund Balance, which would then increase the financial gap for next year.
"I'm not against firefighters. But the City has to balance its books by the end of June. Difficult decisions must be made. Some city employees may lose their jobs to pay for Prop B," Turner said in a tweet.
Some people blame the city losing the bid to host the Democratic National Convention on the controversy surrounding Proposition B.
When asked about that connection during that radio interview, Turner said “Everything cannot be viewed through the lens of Prop B”, saying he doesn’t think it played a part in why the city wasn’t chosen.
The back and forth between the Firefighters Association and city leaders continues.
On Wednesday, the Houston Firefighters Association tweeted out this information on about a march on City Hall they are planning for this coming Tuesday in response to the planned layoffs.