Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2022
(AUSTIN) — Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar released the following statement regarding Judge Lora Livingston’s approval of a resolution between the Comptroller’s office and Harris County:
“This court agreement promotes free speech and preserves state officials’ ability to intervene to advocate for local residents when local elected officials ignore their wishes. Harris County has wasted precious time, and this legal maneuvering stalled fruitful negotiations with the County Constables – negotiations that more than a week ago produced an agreement that we understood was satisfactory to all parties. This resolution allows those negotiations to resume and hopefully clears a path for the county to adopt a budget that ensures Harris County law enforcement has the funds it needs to protect Harris County residents’ homes and property from rising violent crime rates.
As I have maintained all along, my office’s review served only to warn Harris County that its proposed budget defunds police. This review further advised Harris County that adopting a finalized budget that defunds police would fail to comply with the Texas Local Government Code. From the outset, I have been transparent.
Following this review, my staff has continued to act in a transparent manner and exchanged phone calls and emails over many months with both county officials and the Constables to clarify any questions concerning our review. We have diligently worked to facilitate a local agreement even as Judge Lina Hidalgo engaged in childish attacks on my office and on Harris County law enforcement.
My office’s review has no impact on the Harris County Commissioners Court’s ability to adopt a finalized budget. In fact, the only barriers standing between Harris County Commissioners Court and a finalized county budget are hot air and political ambition.
In 2022, aggravated assaults in Harris County increased 11 percent and murders and manslaughters have increased by 24 percent compared to 2020. Moreover, law-abiding Harris County residents support funding for law enforcement that protects their lives and homes.
This agreement does not change the reality faced by county commissioners.
Rather than wasting taxpayer dollars on high-priced outside lawyers to fight against statistical reality and public support, Harris County Commissioners Court could have done the right thing all along — adopt a final budget that does not defund law enforcement. Today’s agreement gives me hope that Judge Hidalgo will prioritize the safety and welfare of Harris County residents over her political ambitions and coastal elite donors in future budget deliberations.”