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Thursday, March 20 • 9:15am - 10:35am
TH1.13 Fiscal and Intergovernmental Influences Facing Texas Cities

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UAA: Proposed Colloquy Impact of Sequestration on Texas Cities: Borders and Non-Borders Created by the Budget Control Act of 2011, the process known as “sequestration” was designed to reduce the federal deficit by making automatic defense and non-defense spending reductions totaling approximately $1 trillion from federal budgets between FY 2013 and FY 2021. The sequester went into effect March 2013, reducing federal spending about $80 billion for that year, and is scheduled to reduce spending by about $100 billion for FY 2014 and every year thereafter. Cities and states, both of which rely heavily on federal grants, will experience reductions of about $10 billion per year every year that sequestration is in effect. Cities, in particular, will experience reductions in CDBG and HOME housing funds in addition to reductions in federally-funded law enforcement grants, energy assistance programs, transportation projects, various environmental programs, infrastructure, job training, education, and emergency management, among others. Additionally, localities whose economies are heavily dependent on federal civilian and military workforces may well experience additional budget woes as sequestration cuts and resulting personnel reductions in these activities impact local property values and sales tax collections. Possibly, cities in fragile border regions will suffer from these reductions even more so than others. Some forecast consequences of almost apocalyptic proportions. Sequestration, according to the National League of Cities, would be likely to “significantly impact cities and towns and their economic recovery and growth…leading potentially to another recession.” 1 To date, though, very little is known about the actual experiences that cities and communities have had with the first round of sequestration cuts, or about its anticipated future impacts. Have budgets been trimmed, have personnel been reduced, have taxes and other revenue streams declined, are urban economies suffering? And, if so, can any of this be traced to the sequestration action and will any impacts found to differ by urban characteristics, including border proximities? To respond to these questions, we propose a colloquy consisting of both scholars and practitioners, focused on the implications of sequestration for Texas cities. The scholars will present results of a survey conducted of city managers of all Texas cities over 10,000 in population (approximately 250) designed to measure the consequences (both present and future) of these sequestration activities on local services, inter-local contracting, outsourcing, consolidation opportunities, property taxes, sales tax collections, personnel adjustments, and the like. Commenting on survey results, as well as on experiences in their own communities, will be city managers, or other appropriate officials, from selected Texas cities, including those from the North Texas area, San Antonio, and the border region. The results of the panel should give good insights, both at the macro and micro levels, into implications for cities of the federal budget sequestration decision and will examine these results by various urban characteristics, including comparing those in the border regions of Texas with others.


Richard Cole

University of Texas-Arlington

Jeff Coyle

City of San Antonio

James Fisher

City of Murphy

Mike Foreman

City of Celina

Scott Wayman

City of Live Oak


Bob Whelan

University of Texas-Dallas

Thursday March 20, 2014 9:15am - 10:35am CDT
Encino Room (Westin 1st Floor)