Proposed bill could lead to massive budget cuts, San Antonio leaders warn

San Antonio may not be able to spend the money CPS Energy makes if the bill filed in Austin becomes state law.

SAN ANTONIO. San Antonio leaders fear the proposed bill threatens city services and could lead to massive budget cuts.

A bill by Georgetown Republican Senator Charles Schwertner could prevent San Antonio from spending money earned by CPS Energy and SAWS.

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

“The implications for us – I don’t think I’m being too dramatic when I say they could cause harm,” council member Melissa Cabello Hawrda said during Wednesday’s meeting.

City leaders said they believe Schwertner wants to prevent the metropolitan city’s electricity supplier Austin Energy from raising rates again. While the bill appears to be intended to address the Austin problem, it will apply to all Texas municipalities.

Assistant city manager Jeff Coyle said city officials “cleared their schedules” and rushed to the capital to lobby for the current version of the measure.

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

But Coyle indicated that Schwertner was open to amending the bill.

“We don’t think the intention is to affect the CPS and we hope it doesn’t end up going that way,” he said.

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