Harris County DA

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Budgeting for Justice, Fairness, and Equity

Today, Commissioners Court approved Harris County’s FY2022-FY2023 budget. A budget is more than dollars and cents; it’s a reflection of our values. Harris County should be a place where every resident is safe, healthy, and has the opportunity to thrive. And that’s what we are working toward with this budget.

The newly approved budget of $1.302 Billion for Short Fiscal Year 2022 that continues the direction we set in 2020 for greater opportunity, equity, and justice. For too long, our county has been a place of deep inequities—where life expectancy varies by more than 20 years depending on one’s zip code, or where nearly a quarter of children live in poverty. And the pandemic exacerbates those disparities—with Black and Hispanic communities and women still bearing a disproportionate burden of the last two years. With this budget, we are working to narrow those gaps, by providing vital services to increase access to healthcare, affordable housing, childcare, good jobs, clean air and water, and economic opportunities for everyone.

This is a budget that prioritizes community health and safety—with justice, fairness, and equity at its center. We focus on proven strategies to make communities safer by investing in community and hospital-based violence interruption programs, holistic first responder teams, cleaning up neighborhoods so they are places where children can play, and community-oriented policing in communities with historic under-investment. We are making our justice system fairer and more effective through additional court resources, multilingual interpretation, and quality lawyers. We are going to deliver justice more quickly and ensure that anyone, no matter how much money they have in the bank, has a fair shot in court.

These key investments in our community will move Harris County forward on the path to a safer, healthier, and more resilient community that provides equitable opportunities for all residents.

Unfortunately, due to three straight years of irresponsible cuts to vital services—forced by our colleagues refusing to maintain longstanding tax rates—this proposed budget falls far short of what the people of Harris County deserve. Had we simply maintained the tax rate, over the last three budget cycles, there would have been $500 million to invest in community safety, flood protection, healthcare, creating good jobs, and affordable housing. I want to do more to protect our community from pollution, to rebuild flood-damaged homes, and to support mental health during these challenging times. This is what the people of Harris County deserve.

This budget is a step in the right direction, and I will keep fighting for more resources to go to making Harris County families safer and healthier. For resources to give workers and small businesses, a chance to thrive economically and recover from the devastating effects of this pandemic. For resources to protect access to the ballot box, in the face voter suppression. For resources to improve health, reduce pollution, and keep homes affordable and resilient.

Allocating limited resources is not easy for a household, and it’s not easy for a county. We must be intentional and effective with investments that promote equity, justice and opportunity. I will continue to fight for the resources and services you Harris County residents deserve—for a safe, healthy, and equitable county.

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