Public Finance

  • Blogs

    October 28, 2013

    Houston FBI Could Furlough 600 Jobs, New FBI Director Says

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    October 22, 2013

    Somebody Wants Ted Cruz Dead (And Not a Member of His Own Party)

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    October 15, 2013

    Will Texas Foot the Bill to Open National Parks?

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    October 8, 2013

    Government Shutdown Gets Personal For One Houston Kid

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    October 4, 2013

    Shutdown Not Affecting Houston Food Safety, Yet

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    September 24, 2013

    Republicans and the Farm Bill: Socialism for the Rich, Bootstraps for the Poor

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    August 21, 2013

    Perry Hates Obamacare, But He Still Wants Obamacare Money

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    May 20, 2013

    NASA Budget Cuts Could Hit Johnson Space Center (First No Shuttle, Now This?)

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    April 15, 2013

    Five Do's & Don'ts For Tax Day 2013, Including Watching Lots Of Sitcoms

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    April 4, 2013

    Cynthia Nevels: Financial Consultant Hosting Free Workshop

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    January 16, 2013

    Comptroller: Pearl Bar Owes More Than $40K in Taxes

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    July 9, 2012

    Comment of the Day: The Glory That Is The Texas GOP Platform

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    December 21, 2011

    TCEQ Says No to Millions of Dollars in Tax Breaks for Valero

    ​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 >>

  • Blogs

    April 27, 2011

    UH Student Senate Supports Gays In The "Family Values Centers" Budget Fight

    Coogs embrace the unchaste​The 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 >>

  • Blogs

    March 9, 2011

    Actually, HISD Already Did Spend General Funds on Apollo 20

    Previous statements are inoperative​Friends 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 >>

  • Blogs

    March 8, 2011

    Mario Gallegos Goes Off on Terry Grier at Senate Education Hearing

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    February 18, 2011

    Comment of the Day: Justin Bieber, Political Sage

    ​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 >>

  • Blogs

    December 9, 2010

    Curtis Doss: Tax Collector Pleads Guilty To Misusing Public Funds, Keeps Job

    No, it was the OTHER elected position I misapplied funds in​Curtis 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 >>

  • Blogs

    October 28, 2010

    DWI: Getting Away With It Is Getting Tougher In Harris County

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    September 15, 2010

    Machete's Potential Tax Incentives Rile Conservatives

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    September 15, 2010

    Rick Perry & Bill White: Midnight Is Nigh In The Great (And Silly) Deadline For Debates

    Debates over debates are so fun​The 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 >>

  • Blogs

    July 21, 2010

    Terry Grier Sticks HISD Principals With $19 Million Bill (Updated)

    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, principals​Houston ISD principals are going ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 2, 2010

    Houston And Texas Letting Money For Low-Income Housing Go To Waste

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    June 8, 2010

    Bill White Releases Tax Forms; Perry Still Won't Debate

    Accountants, revel in the data​Former 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 >>

  • News

    May 27, 2010

    Train Wreck

    How Metro and its president Frank Wilson got so far off track.

  • Blogs

    May 12, 2010

    Valero's Tax Ploy: Is It Really Doomsday For Schools And Cities?

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    April 1, 2010

    HISD's Very Own Blackboard Jungle

    ​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 >>

  • Blogs

    May 7, 2009

    Texas, Unfortunately, Leads The Country In Hungry Kids

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    April 15, 2009

    Down Payment Blues: Musicians With Tax Trouble

    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 >>

  • Calendar

    February 19, 2009
  • Blogs

    September 9, 2008

    Taqueria Arandas Offers Tax Fraud On The Side (Allegedly)

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    August 29, 2008

    Sippin' Syrup, Checking Out Some T-Bills And ARMs

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    March 30, 2007

    Dead Voucher Walking

    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 >>

  • News

    January 13, 2005

    Double-Wide Divide

    Critics say Perry's turnpike plans will take a terrible toll on Texans

  • News

    January 6, 2005

    Holiday Spirit

    A real-life Christmas move in Kemah

  • News

    January 15, 2004

    Moving Target

    The city is rolling out the welcome mat for CITGO. But many workers want the company to get lost.

  • News

    November 20, 2003

    Political Identity Crisis

    Ronald Green's the only black Democrat left on the city ballot. Or is he?

  • News

    July 26, 2001

    Tax Rebate Waste?

    Lest tax payers forget about the rebate, U.S. Rep John Culberson drives the message home with $36,000 worth of mailings

  • News

    July 12, 2001

    Beating the Bush

    Take one tax rebate, a Houston man advises, and apply liberally

  • News

    October 12, 2000

    The Mod Squad

    With Brown adrift, can this trio carry the ball?

  • News

    April 6, 2000

    Officials Probe Refund Collector

    Dallas CPA failed to use required disclaimers in collecting a quarter-million dollars

  • News

    March 16, 2000

    The Vulture Factor

    Officials ought to do more to protect the elderly from tax schemes

  • News

    March 25, 1999

    More Payne for the IRS

    Prolonged agency abuses bring a Houston attorney $1.5 million

  • News

    January 21, 1999

    Striking Out

    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.

  • News

    January 21, 1999

    Bush Dole

    The Guv readies surplus handouts in a legislative lovefest

  • News

    June 18, 1998

    Attacking the Taxman

    James Farmer and Cliff Williams do their best to irk the IRS

  • News

    November 28, 1996

    Midtown Jamboree

    Why let a few conflicts of interest get in the way of a grand redevelopment scheme?

  • News

    June 6, 1996

    Cash from CACHH

    As arts funding shrinks, the downtown powers rush to make sure they get theirs

  • News

    June 8, 1995

    The Rule of Men, Not Law

    Who gave Lanier & Co. permission to loot Metro? They did.

  • News

    December 1, 1994

    Hard Habit to Break

    M.D. Anderson just can't say no to research funding from the tobacco industry

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