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February 16, 2023
Harris County to Sue Texas Comptroller Over Erroneous Defunding Claims

Harris County to Sue Texas Comptroller Over Erroneous Defunding Claims

Houston, Texas – Harris County is set to file a lawsuit against Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar over his latest attempt to block Commissioners Court from adopting a tax rate by erroneously claiming the court defunded the Precinct 5 Constable’s office in its fiscal year 2023 budget.  

"Once again, Comptroller Hegar has abused his authority. His math is wrong. His application of state law is wrong. There’s no explanation for it—he’s just flat wrong,” said Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee. “If Hegar’s goal was to make headlines while insulting the basic intelligence of Harris County residents, I guess he achieved that. But we don’t plan to let him abuse his power. We’ll see him in court.”

Last Friday, Comptroller Hegar erroneously concluded that Harris County’s method of annualizing its short fiscal year 2023 budget to its full fiscal year 2023 budget amounted to defunding the Precinct 5 Constable’s office under state law. Hegar contends that unless Harris County receives voter approval for that funding decision, it may not adopt a property tax rate higher than the no-new-revenue rate. The county’s lawsuit seeks to have the courts block Comptroller Hegar from using his incorrect mathematical approach to penalize the county. 

Comptroller Hegar issued a similar determination last fall. The county sued, and Hegar’s lawyers soon thereafter entered into a court-approved agreement walking back his claims, making clear that none of the “actions taken or statements made” by his office amounted to a determination that Harris County’s proposed budget violated the law, and that Harris County was free to adopt its proposed budget and tax rate without interference from his office. 

About the Harris County Attorney's Office

Christian D. Menefee serves as the elected, top civil lawyer for Texas’ largest county. The Harris County Attorney’s Office represents the county in all civil matters including lawsuits. Menefee leads an office of 250 attorneys and staff members. He entered office at 32 years old, making him the youngest person and first African American elected as the Harris County Attorney.