Dumb, Dumb GOP Move
This move doesn’t surprise Commentary. GOP statewide elected officials have excelled at running state government into the ground. Now they want to try their brand in Harris County. I kind of thought Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar was a tad smarter than the rest. I was clearly wrong. See this from the Chron:
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar this week accused Harris County commissioners of defunding local constables and threatened to prevent the county from implementing its proposed 2023 budget if the county does not reverse course.
In a letter sent late Monday, Hegar said the county’s move to do away with “rollover” budgeting led to more than $3 million dedicated to the constables last year being returned to the general fund.
“If the county proceeds with the Constable budget as proposed without obtaining voter approval, the county may not adopt an ad valorem tax rate that exceeds the county’s no-new-revenue tax rate,” Hegar wrote.
Harris County Administrator David Berry on Tuesday afternoon said Hegar’s position would prevent the county from adopting a budget that increases funding to Harris County Constables’ and Sheriff’s offices by “millions of dollars.”
“The Comptroller’s position would keep us from making these new investments,” he said, “which is contrary to the intent of SB 23. … I hope the Comptroller’s position does not prevent us from achieving our goal, and we look forward to working with the state to resolve this matter.
Berry said that in the past, county departments could “roll over” their unspent budget from one year to the next “with no questions asked.”
“This practice was unique to Harris County and is not the practice of other local governments,” he said. “Under the current policy, departments, including the Constable’s Offices, can request the use of unspent funds on vehicles, equipment, and other one-time expenses. The County has continued to support these investments.”
Paradoxically, by preventing Harris County from adopting the new tax rate, Hegar’s actions would prevent the county from implementing $96.7 million in increases to the sheriff and constable offices, and a proposed $10 million increase to the District Attorney’s Office.
Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman — one of the two constables who first raised the issue with Abbott — said he was “thankful” to the governor and to Hegar for looking into the matter.
Here is from the Tribune:
Republicans used Hegar’s accusation as an opportunity to bash Hidalgo, the county’s Democratic chief executive who is seen as a rising star in the party, as she faces a grueling reelection battle in November.
“The dangerous actions taken by Judge Lina Hidalgo and Harris County represent a brazen disregard for the safety and security of the Texans they are sworn to protect,” (Gov. Greg) Abbott said in a news release.
Hidalgo fired back — accusing Hegar and Abbott of spreading “outright lies,” stating that the county has only boosted law enforcement funding since she took office in 2018 and vowing to “fight this issue in court.”
“The truth is, before I took office, Harris County was not much more than a rubber-stamp for Abbott and his far-right agenda, and they resent the change,” Hidalgo said in a statement. “We’re about two months away from my re-election and they’re throwing everything — including outright lies — at the wall to see what sticks.”
In this year’s proposed budget, Harris County commissioners plan to spend almost $232 million to fund the county’s eight constable offices — a nearly 10% increase from the previous fiscal year. The two constables who complained to Abbott’s office that they were losing funds — Mark Herman and Ted Heap — would receive 12% and 7.7% budget increases under the plan compared to last fiscal year, respectively. They also received budget increases the previous year — along with the other constables.
If the intent of arsehole Abbott’s and Hegar’s involvement is to help Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s GOP opponent in the current election, it is going to backfire. Harris County is blue in part because we reject the extremist policies that are coming out of Texas state government. Abbott and Hegar are the wrong messengers and most voters view this as extremists meddling in our lives here. Talk about a bonehead move.
A solid majority of voters in Harris County really dislike Abbott.
Keep it up. Send in Sid Miller next, please.
You can’t send in George P. because he’s already screwed up things around these parts.
Dumb, dumb GOP move.
Here is the entire Chron read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/houston/article/Texas-comptroller-accuses-Harris-County-of-17392340.php.
Here is the Tribune read: Texas officials accuse Harris County of cutting constables’ budgets | The Texas Tribune.
President Joe Biden is supposed to announce today that $10,000 in federal debt for individuals for college loans will be eliminated. Donald Trump’s former chief economic advisor is accusing President Biden of buying mid-term votes for Democrats. That’s way too funny. Remember when folks got those $1,200 pandemic checks in 2020 and Donald Trump followed up with letters to take credit. Way to funny.
Hall of Fame great Cal Ripken, Jr. is 62 today. 2-time MVP, World Series ring, AL Rookie of the Year, and 19-time All Star. Happy Birthday, Cal Ripken!
79-45. Justin Verlander pitched 6 innings of no-hit baseball.