The state comptroller, Glenn Hegar, has issued a ruling that freezes Harris County’s ability to raise taxes, after finding that the county unlawfully reduced funding to the constables in its 2023 budget, violating a 2021 law that requires local governments to seek voter approval before reducing funding for law enforcement agencies.
In letters addressed to both state and county leaders, Hegar declared that unless the county reverses the cuts to the constables or holds a successful election, it can only adopt “no new revenue” property tax rates for future budgets. The county’s budget difficulties may therefore persist for an indefinite period.
This ruling was made following the Republican county commissioners’ boycott of court meetings last fall, which forced the Democratic majority to adopt a budget that cut funding across the board, including to the constables’ offices.
In response to the ruling, Commissioner Rodney Ellis issued a statement accusing state leaders of distorting Harris County’s law enforcement record for political gain, at the cost of the safety and services expected and deserved by Harris County residents.