HARRIS COUNTY – The standoff over the Harris County tax rate and budget continued Tuesday with the county commission’s two Republican members skipping a vote on the matter for a second time.
“I’m working today, I’m just not working down there. I’m working for the folks that are believing that they’re having to pay enough in taxes and they’re having to tighten their belts and they would like those of us who are in government to tighten our belts as well,” said precinct 4 commissioner Jack Cagle in an interview with KPRC2.
Precinct 3 commissioner Tom Ramsey issued the following statement:
“Once again, my hand was forced to miss today’s meeting. To this day, I’ve not received any other proposals that prioritize crime reduction through funding additional patrol officers. While my colleagues continue to mislead the public, I’ll continue to represent Precinct 3 and their wishes for Harris County to prioritize their safety and cut the wasteful spending”.
Court went into executive session during Tuesday’s meeting to discuss what, if anything, Judge Lina Hidalgo could do to compel the Republican commissioners to appear. Hidalgo later said the county attorney’s office was doing more research on the matter.
The Democratic majority on the commission says the smaller budget they were forced to adopt as a result of the blocked votes on the proposed tax rate means deep cuts to services and planned increases to county agencies.
“This is about bread and butter issues this is about the ability to pay our police the salary they deserve (and) the ability to put boots on the ground during a crime wave the ability to fund and keep the doors open to our public health and hospital facilities,” Hidalgo said.
Both Hidalgo and Cagle told KPRC 2 there could be room for compromise.
Another hearing is set for the Oct. 11 meeting. The deadline for adopting a new tax rate is Oct. 28.