Lower tax rates for homeowners and pay increases for law enforcement threatened after Republican Commissioners Jack Cagle and Tom Ramsey boycott meeting to adopt budget
Harris County, Texas–(September 13, 2022)–Republican Harris County Commissioners Jack Cagle and Tom Ramsey dodged Commissioners Court to prevent the approval of the proposed County budget that would reduce the tax rate for homeowners and increase pay for law enforcement. State law requires a quorum of four of the five members of Commissioners Court is required to pass the budget.
Cagle and Ramsey’s boycott puts partisan politics before the people of Harris County. The stunt could hinder critical county operations for this upcoming fiscal year, as it could force drastic cuts for essential county services, including public health, justice and safety, and the lowering of the property tax rate.
While the GOP continuously attacks Judge Hidalgo, falsely accusing her of defunding law enforcement agencies, it’s their actions that are preventing the allocation of public safety funds. The budget that was halted today by Cagle and Ramsey allocates $1.4B towards justice and safety. This includes a $96.7 million increase for sheriffs and constable offices, including funding for at least 35 new violent crime investigators, 100 new detention officers, and 22 new prosecutors for the district attorney. Frontline police officers would also get a more than 6% raise.
Prioritizing political power over the people they were elected to serve could prompt hiring and spending freezes across all County departments. This could mean losing funding equivalent to the salaries of almost 300 Harris County Sheriff’s deputies and more than 350 detention officers. For Harris County Constables, funding could be reduced to the equivalent of about 200 deputies. Lastly, the county would no longer be able to provide pay raises for frontline officers.
Since 2019, Judge Hidalgo has led Commissioners Court in decreasing the tax rate by 7.72% for homeowners and increasing the public safety budget by 23%.
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