A majority of Harris County Commissioners Court members wanted to raise the property tax rate.
It will end up being lowered.
Republicans Jack Cagle and Steve Radack, who were against a rate increase proposed by the court’s three Democrats, skipped Tuesday’s meeting to prevent the state-required quorum needed to levy a tax. The county will revert to the effective tax rate as a result, meaning the rate will decrease by about 3 percent to 61.17 cents per $100 of assessed value.
County Judge Lina Hidalgo, along with fellow Democrats Rodney Ellis and Adrian Garcia, had proposed to increase the county’s property tax rate for the first time in more than 20 years. Their proposal was to bump the rate from 62.998 cents per $100 valuation to 65.260, an increase of 3.59 percent that would have increased the county’s tax revenue by 8 percent — the maximum allowable by state law without requiring a countywide vote.
County taxes go to the county itself as well as the Harris County Flood Control District, Harris Health System and the Port of Houston. Ellis, who represents part of the area along with Cagle, said the county’s continued growth presented a need for additional tax revenue.
“We must be able to keep up with the services that people expect,” Hidalgo said during Tuesday’s meeting.
Although there was no vote, the commissioners court held a public comment session on the proposed rate increase for the third time in the last three weeks. Multiple community members voiced their opinions, with some supporting an increase and some against it.
Paul Simpson, chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, praised Cagle and Radack for skipping the meeting and thereby preventing a rate increase.
“That act of courage has saved an untold number of seniors, parents and other people who struggle to make ends meet,” he said.