Proposed bill could force massive budget cuts, San Antonio leaders warn

San Antonio might not be able to spend money CPS Energy earns if a bill filed in Austin becomes state law.

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio leaders fear a proposed bill threatens city services and could force massive budget cuts. 

Georgetown Republican Sen. Charles Schwertner’s bill might prevent San Antonio from spending money earned by CPS Energy and SAWS.  

This year, CPS Energy transferred $391.8 million to San Antonio coffers, more than 25 percent of the city’s general fund revenue. 

“The implications for us – I don’t think I’m being terribly dramatic when I say they could be crippling,” councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda said during a meeting Wednesday. 

City leaders said they believe Schwertner wants to prevent Austin Energy, the capital’s city-owned electricity provider, from again raising its rates. Though apparently designed to address an Austin issue, the bill would apply to all Texas municipalities. 

Assistant city manager Jeff Coyle said city leaders “cleared their schedules” and raced to the capitol to lobby against the current version of the measure. 

They told the San Antonio delegation the bill is the “biggest, potentially most damaging piece of legislation we’ve ever seen,” Coyle said.

But Coyle indicated Schwertner is open to amending the bill. 

“We don’t think the intent is to affect CPS and our hope is that it ultimately doesn’t advance in that way,” he said. 

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