The Facts

What you need to know about Props A, B, and C

Economic Impact Report

The results are in. Steve Nivin, director of the SABÉR Research Institute and an associate professor of Economics at St. Mary’s University, performed a fiscal impact analysis on the charter amendments which he presented to the City Council.

How Props A, B, and C will raise taxes.

The Credit Rating Agencies have already put our City on notice.

“Fitch believes these petitions have the potential to greatly limit the city’s revenue and expenditure flexibility and interfere with management’s ability to operate the city. Successful passage of these petitions, particularly those that make any ordinance subject to referendum and allow the firefighters to require binding arbitration, would lead to negative rating pressure…”

– Fitch Ratings 2018 Report

Download the Reports

Frequently Asked Questions

Our taxpayer dollars go towards public services and bond projects throughout the city. San Antonio borrows money to fund these projects alongside our property taxes based on our credit rating (or bond rating). As trust in our city’s ability to govern goes down, our bond rating goes down, and our credit goes down. This means our tax dollars go towards bank interest costs instead of projects for our community, and we will have to pay more out of pocket to cover the services we need.

Yes. As explained in the previous question, as our credit rating goes down, our ability to fund public services diminishes. Important city services like street maintenance, parks, libraries, code enforcement, public health, and senior centers are funded by tax dollars and bond credit. As we lose millions of bond dollars in interest costs, we will lose our ability to pay for these necessary projects which may include: District 10 Senior Center ($10 million), 1604/281 connections ($30 million), and Hauseman Road work ($43 million).

Nothing. These referendums don’t benefit the firefighters. In reality, the proposed charter amendments will hurt the firefighters and their families just as much as it will hurt the rest of our city.

A ‘AAA’ bond rating is the highest a city can achieve on a 10-point scale, designated by three major agencies – S&P, Moody’s, and Fitch Ratings. It means the City can borrow funds at the lowest interest rate, allowing more of our tax dollars to fund capital improvements within our community. San Antonio is the only city with a population of over 1 million to have a ‘AAA’ rating from any one of the three agencies — and we have it from all three because of how well-managed we are financially.

The charter propositions increase uncertainty, limit financial flexibility and management, and alter the City’s governance structure. These are important areas of focus by the three major rating agencies that evaluate the City and assign a bond rating, for which we currently have the highest rating. Our strong economy, strong management, and strong budgetary performance are all now at risk.

If the referendums pass, our AAA bond rating will drop. With each downtick in our rating, we stand to lose exponential amounts of money:

  • One notch lower, and the City will pay $17.5 – $37.5 million more in interest costs over the life of the bonds
  • Two notches would be $45 – $75 million more in interest costs
  • Three notches would be $112.5 – $132.5 million more in interest costs

State law already calls for third-party arbitration when contracts and budgetary agreements are being made. This charter amendment would give the Fire Union the ability to unilaterally declare an impasse to avoid “good faith” negotiations, and call for binding arbitration at their sole discretion. What is most threatening is that this third party can be chosen by the union, and has no responsibility, regard, or understanding of any other budgetary decisions or commitments made by the city. Your public services such as streets, sidewalks, parks, libraries, and public health will not be taken into consideration.

This charter amendment would not impact our current city manager. It would limit future city managers’ terms and total compensation. The City Manager is the CEO of the city, and is responsible for our prosperity. This will severely limit our ability to attract top-level talent in the future, and weaken our city government. San Antonio’s economy is strong — why would we put it at risk?

One referendum will decrease the number of signatures needed to get a proposition on the ballot from 10% of voters (approx. 70,000) to 20,000 signatures. This means less than 3% of our city can counter the due diligence and hard work of our city officials who we elected to represent us. This destroys representative government and gives special interests the ability to dictate what happens in your neighborhood – approved projects and public improvements – whether or not they live there, too.

The Props

What are the proposed amendments? Take a deeper look at what’s at stake.