Are Wall Street woes affecting Houston?

HOUSTON City Controller Annisse Parker has been paying close attention to the credit crisis in Washington. Today, she briefed council members on how it could affect the city of Houston.

She said right now, the city has plenty of things working in its favor. First, we're in excellent financial shape, compared to other cities. Houston also has an extremely high credit rating and a diversified enough economy.

However, she cautioned city leaders not to get overconfident because if the financial markets continue to remain unstable and worsen, Parker says we may not be spared and will undoubtedly suffer the consequences.

"At some point, if the downtrend continues, you might have to cut projects, cut programs, cut back on spending," she said. "But we're not there yet and we believe council members ought to be aware of this, but to take a deep breath and help us work through it."

At this point, don't expect any sharp cuts to programs or capital projects, but they're certainly not out of the question. It's something city leaders will be watching closely as they work to shore up the city's finances.

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