Bill White's 9 Steps to Financial Freedom (#1)

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Senate-candidate White donned his mayoral cap this week to caution Houston’s mayor-wannabes about excessive spending during the current recession (via the Chron’s Bradley Olsen):

9 Steps

White warns against new spending
Mayor tells voters to be wary of promises by candidates who are vying for his job

“Texas has not come out of the recession, and sales tax receipts are dropping,” White wrote in a post on his Facebook page Tuesday. “Be sure not to vote for our next mayor based on commitments of more spending in the next two years.”

That’s good advice: Be wary of promises by candidates.

However, a new press release on the mayor’s official website touts his success at spending millions for his own green preferences:

The City of Houston and Mayor Bill White have been recognized by Automotive Fleet Magazine as one of the nation’s top Green Fleet Leaders and will receive the first annual “Green Fleet Leadership” Award at the 2009 Green Fleet Conference, October 19-20, in Chicago.

The City of Houston’s green fleet accomplishments include:

— Replacing 683 passenger vehicles with hybrids through the Mayor’s Hybrid Initiative, as well as scheduled replacement of 34 heavy-duty vehicles with hybrid and clean-diesel vehicles.

— Surpassing Houston’s own emissions reduction plan by achieving total 2009 fleet greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 90,864 tons per year (tpy), 6.1% below Houston’s 2010 Emissions Reduction Plan goal of 96,761 tpy and 7.8% below the 2010 business-as-usual projection (Of note: overall GHG emissions have increased by only 3% despite the fleet increasing in size by 12%).

— Reducing fleet fuel consumption from 9.4 million gallons in 2005 to 8.8 million gallons in 2009.

So, let’s do a little math, using some reasonably guesstimated numbers:

683 passenger vehicles (Toyota Prius’) x $25,000 = $17.1 million
.6 million gallon fuel consumption reduction x $2.20 = $1.32 million

Mayor White spent $17 million (give or take) to save $1.5 million (give or take). You may now insert the joke about the wife who justifies her shopping spree by telling her husband how much money she saved.

Indeed, Texans should be wary of promises by candidates.

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.