James Comey, the new director for the Federal Bureau of Investigations, has been doing what new directors of powerful programs (and monarchs) do, touring the country checking out the field offices for the FBI. Comey made a point of stopping in Houston last week, because Houston is a key city for th ... More >>
Sen. Ted Cruz has made a name for himself with all the government shutdown hijinks he's pulled in the past few weeks, but he's also ensured that there are a lot of people right now who don't much like guy, including at least one person who's been using Twitter to urge someone to get rid of Cruz. Wh ... More >>
As the government shutdown drags on, it's created plenty of frustrating situations -- people who can't get into medical programs, thousands of workers furloughed without pay, and of course, the shutting down of all national parks. Texas has some great national parks within our borders -- Big Bend, ... More >>
For most of us the government shutdown is a bad joke that seems like it will never end, but for 12-year-old Justin Clark and his family, the shutdown that has frozen the works of federal government is a lot closer to a very unfunny hostage situation. Two months ago Justin was diagnosed with Giant A ... More >>
Think of the government shutdown as you would a hurricane. Stock up on canned food, sit tight and wait it out. Evacuate if you must, but you're going to have to travel pretty far to get out of this mess. The government has been getting a lot of (much deserved) grief over the shutdown, and I was o ... More >>
One thing that has been a staple of congressional compromise over the past three decades or so was the farm bill. The Democrats would -- generally speaking -- hold their nose and vote for the bill, which included agricultural subsidies to "farmers" ( the policy actually largely benefits Big Agricult ... More >>
Gov. Rick Perry has a hatred for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) that comes as natural as breathing to him, but it seems hate only goes so far when there's $100 million in federal funding on the table. When U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius came to Texas a few weeks ... More >>
In recent years, NASA has been hit pretty hard, and another hit may be coming. We're a long ways off from the days when JFK told the nation that the United States would put a man on the moon, and in recent years, what with the Great Recession, space exploration seems to have taken a backseat. Hell, ... More >>
Another April, another (goddamn) Tax Day. The annual rite of paying taxes has been buffed up to a science by the media -- on no other day will you hear the team "Uncle Sam" used so often -- and all the people who have somehow forgotten this day was coming will be reminded ad nauseam. Still, ther ... More >>
Did you know it's Houston Money Week? Don't feel bad -- we didn't either, mostly because we don't have any money. But we think it might be worth it for any budding entrepreneurs and small business owners to check out financial expert Cynthia Nevels's workshop on financial independence this Sunday, A ... More >>
According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts' office, Pearl Bar owes more than $40,000 in mixed-beverage and franchise taxes, and agents confiscated some cash as part of a "limited seizure" operation at the Washington Avenue bar this past Saturday evening. A lien has also been filed against ... More >>
We have some great commenters here on Hair Balls, and it's time we paid some damn attention to them. So we'll be highlighting a Comment of the Day each morning or afternoon from the previous day's work. Maybe two comments, even. This will all be determined by a highly rigorous scientific formula i ... More >>
Area school districts and cities had to be breathing a big sigh of relief today as news came out that the executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said "no" to handing out large tax breaks to Valero that would have made things even worse for cash-strapped government ... More >>
Coogs embrace the unchasteThe student senate at the University of Houston has decided that even if some Aggies are wailing about "unchaste" gay sex, UH students oppose the bill mandating "Family Values" Centers on any Texas campuses that have gay resource groups. (Maybe the Coogs just don't ... More >>
Previous statements are inoperativeFriends of Hair Balls have been besieging us in the last couple of days, insisting that Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier misspoke when he testified before a Senate Committee on Education that the district has never used general funds to finance Apollo ... More >>
Mario & Terry: Can two grown men share a city without driving each other crazy?Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier went all the way to Austin to testify before the Texas Senate Committee on Education, only to be ripped apart by Sen. Mario Gallegos, who continues to not like much of anythi ... More >>
We have some great commenters here on Hair Balls, and it's time we paid some damn attention to them. So we'll be highlighting a Comment of the Day each morning, from the previous day's work. Maybe two comments, even. This will all be determined by a highly rigorous scientific formula involv ... More >>
No, it was the OTHER elected position I misapplied funds inCurtis Doss is the Tax Collector of Burleson County. Curtis Doss pleaded guilty last week to misapplying public funds. Curtis Doss will not be losing his job as Tax Collector of Burleson County. Why? The wily Doss misused public fu ... More >>
Blood tests for drunk drivers will be the norm now that Harris County got a fat chunk of federal cash. Drinking and driving is serious business in Harris County, and to prove it, the District Attorney's office held a press conference this morning to promote some changes they've made. "A lot of dr ... More >>
Texas tax breaks for THIS? Tea Party unite!Machete, the bloody, gory, spoofy film by Robert Rodriguez, has become the latest mini-scandal de jour for conservatives.Why? Because it might get tax breaks from Texas, and it portrays a race war that favors immigrants over right-wing politicians like t ... More >>
Debates over debates are so funThe finger-pointing continued Wednesday as the great gubernatorial debate over who's at fault for not having a gubernatorial debate came to Houston.Republican Governor Rick Perry has given Democrat candidate Bill White until midnight tonight to release tax returns f ... More >>
UPDATE: News flash from Houston ISD: Summer School will go on, just maybe not in the way it previously operated. And the $19 million shortfall may not be quite that high. See end of post. Photo by Margaret Downing Terry Grier: you're on your own, principalsHouston ISD principals are going ... More >>
The feds gave Houston money to clean up foreclosed houses, but the money isn't being spent. According to a new report from a low income housing group, the City of Houston may have to repay millions of dollars in federal funds that were meant to clean up neighborhoods hit hardest by foreclosed hom ... More >>
Accountants, revel in the dataFormer Houston Mayor Bill White, after months of getting pounded by Governor Rick Perry on the subject, has released his income tax forms for the time he headed the city.Click here to see the data in all its glory. Bottom line: He makes a lot more money than yo ... More >>
How Metro and its president Frank Wilson got so far off track.
Are cities and school districts panicking?Until the day comes when people jump for joy over paying taxes, they will look under every nook and cranny for loopholes that let them save as much as they can. It works the same way for businesses, and you generally never hear about it. But in the past f ... More >>
Fondren Middle School is "a blackboard jungle. The efforts that are required there are Herculean...The kids at Fondren have to learn how to come to school and where the school is located."Trustee Larry Marshall, not known for mincing words when he considers something unacceptable (famous Larr ... More >>
More than anywhere else the country, children in Texas don't know where they'll get their next meal.That's according to a recent study by Feeding America, the nation's food-bank network, which analyzed stats on "household food insecurity" published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to ... More >>
Finished that tax return yet? Not to worry: you've still got a few hours until midnight, and the post offices are open late. Over the years, these musicians have gotten in hot water with their countries' internal-revenue collectors as well... Bono Forever a proponent of all things charitable, Bono ... More >>
Taqueria Arandas stores are all over Houston -- the place to go (for some people) for a full meal or something from the bakery. And, apparently, a place to find a tax cheat. Eight Taqueria Arandas owners have been charged with filing false income-tax returns that deprived the feds of more than $4 ... More >>
More than 250 "financial literacy leaders from Texas" will be in Houston in mid-September for something called Money Week. It's an event featuring experts who will give advice on how to deal with current tough economic conditions. Among the participants: the FDIC, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dalla ... More >>
Yep, you counted that right. One hundred and twenty-nine votes is quite a skunk. Yesterday we talked about the Virtual Voucher bill before the Senate sponsored by Houston Sen. Kyle Janek that would allow low-income students in urban areas to leave the public school system for the private, and pay ... More >>
Critics say Perry's turnpike plans will take a terrible toll on Texans
A real-life Christmas move in Kemah
The city is rolling out the welcome mat for CITGO. But many workers want the company to get lost.
Ronald Green's the only black Democrat left on the city ballot. Or is he?
Lest tax payers forget about the rebate, U.S. Rep John Culberson drives the message home with $36,000 worth of mailings
Take one tax rebate, a Houston man advises, and apply liberally
With Brown adrift, can this trio carry the ball?
Dallas CPA failed to use required disclaimers in collecting a quarter-million dollars
Officials ought to do more to protect the elderly from tax schemes
Prolonged agency abuses bring a Houston attorney $1.5 million
Reid Ryan embarked on a new career as a team owner facing one big obstacle: voter approval of a new stadium. Then he called in a campaigner with the perfect pitch: a father named Nolan.
The Guv readies surplus handouts in a legislative lovefest
James Farmer and Cliff Williams do their best to irk the IRS
Why let a few conflicts of interest get in the way of a grand redevelopment scheme?
As arts funding shrinks, the downtown powers rush to make sure they get theirs
Who gave Lanier & Co. permission to loot Metro? They did.
M.D. Anderson just can't say no to research funding from the tobacco industry