Politics

Harris County leaders will weigh a bond election for the fall ballot

Commissioner Adrian Garcia, up for reelection, is tying his political future to the measure, which could be used to pay for roads, parks, flood control, and public safety.

Screengrab
Harris County Commissioners Court on June 29, 2021.

Harris County leaders will begin discussions Tuesday about whether to add a bond election to the November ballot.

The bond would be a hybrid measure to raise money for roads, parks, flood control, and public safety. It's unclear how much the bond would be for, but Commissioner Adrian Garcia's office said it could come in the ballpark of $1 billion.

Garcia, who asked the county budget office to look into the possibility of a new bond, said Commissioners Court will first have to hear from the office on whether the county's finances can sustain new borrowing.

Garcia, a Democrat, is up for reelection this fall.

“I'm in favor of putting it on the same ballot that I would be on," he said. "I think it's important to show the folks that we're working on their behalf, we're making investments, and we need their support to make the investments that they want to see done."

Garcia's opponent in the fall election is the man he beat in 2018, former Republican commissioner Jack Morman. He criticized Garcia and his Democratic colleagues for their handling of the county’s finances, and warned that a new bond could mean tax increases.

"The county should always keep all options open on bond financing, but Garcia is simply trying to drive up voter turnout during a tough year for liberals," Morman said.

Garcia's office says the commissioner is flexible on the bond amount, as he's hoping to win bipartisan support from his fellow commissioners to put it on the ballot.

Spokespeople for Republican commissioners Jack Cagle and Tom Ramsey said they were waiting to hear details on the proposal Tuesday before commenting publicly.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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