Oct 18, 2022 - News

GOP again no-shows at Harris County tax-rate meeting

Illustration of the GOP logo with animated typing ellipses, as if the elephant is thinking.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Harris County's two Republican commissioners again refused to meet with their counterparts Monday, elongating a weeks-long battle over the county's tax rate and budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Catch up quick: This was the fourth meeting Commissioners Jack Cagle and Tom Ramsey have skipped in protest of Democrats' proposed budget and tax rate of 57.5 cents per $100 of property valuation.

  • The Republicans said they want to save taxpayers money and separately want to increase funding for law enforcement, the Houston Chronicle reports.
  • The county's current tax rate is 58.1 cents per $100 of valuation.

Be smart: State law mandates that at least four members of Commissioners Court be present to vote on the tax rate, although only three votes are needed for it to be approved.

  • With only three commissioners present, members have been unable to take any action.

Details: On Friday, Democratic Commissioner Adrian Garcia submitted a counter tax rate of 56.3 cents as a "final offer" compromise, the Chronicle reports.

  • Garcia's proposal also would increase pay for law enforcement and add 200 new officers to the county's payrolls.
  • Cagle and Ramsey both demanded more "boots on the ground" after accusing court Democrats of defunding police.

What they're saying: "They refuse to engage," Judge Lina Hidalgo said. "It takes two to negotiate."

What we're watching: Commissioners meet again today at 2:30pm.

  • Commissioners Court has until Oct. 28 to pass the tax rate. Otherwise, state law dictates the county will be forced to use a no-new-revenue tax rate.

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