Ah, it's that time of year again. There's a crisp chill in the air. The sound of Christmas music is gently echoing throughout malls around the city. There are smiles on all the children's faces as they wait with great anticipation for that one special man to bring them something...Tax Assessor-Colle ... More >>
The Houston Independent School District may be about to get a little more in the tax dollars department. Next week the HISD school board will consider a 4 cent property tax rate increase, bumping it up to $1.1967 per $100 taxable value. If the move is approved by the HISD school board this will be ... More >>
Last week, Gladys House had every reason to think she was about to see her property auctioned off for failure to pay her taxes, before someone swooped in to loan her the money. "I always felt like it was going to be all right. I just didn't know how it would happen," House said. Linebarger Gogga ... More >>
We don't know who first came up with the phrase "you can't get good help nowadays," but whoever did likely realized the importance of having a staffer interview someone before hiring. It's a valuable personnel lesson ingrained in Yevette Lauren Walton and Lakisha Lashell Rogers, but for all their p ... More >>
Death and taxes are the only certainties in life, but in the case of Gladys House, the actual tax bill has been a question she's been wrestling with since the late 1990s. House is a longtime Fourth Ward activist and head of the Freedmen's Town Association who has fought for years to preserve the ... More >>
HCAD fights owners of moderate housing for every single assessment penny. So why is it routinely handing out tax breaks worth several millions to big corporations?
In 2012, the Harris County Appraisal District valued Robert Mandala's modest Spring home at $59,500. The property-tax agent who represented Mandala said HCAD, while establishing a value, purposely ignored the lower priced homes in the neighborhood and grabbed sales numbers from the most expensive pr ... 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 >>
New Chair Dan Patrick is making his mark on the Senate Education Committee early, putting his goals for school choice front and center on his agenda. The clamor over school choice will likely drown out many of Patrick's other goals for the session: expanding career and technology courses; dropping ... More >>
If Mitt Romney won't tell you which need to be closed, we will.
It's a fact of life that bears repeating: The IRS does not fuck around, no matter who you are. Legendary musician Chuck Berry received a reminder of this universal truth the hard way 33 years ago this month. Only three days after playing a gig on the White House lawn for President Jimmy Carter, the ... 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 >>
Could be required reading in all of HISD next year.Superintendent Terry Grier is making another run at cutting Houston ISD expenses by standardizing school schedules throughout the district, after last year's narrow rejection of the measure by board trustees. His administration says that by ... 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 >>
Rick Perry is right: America can learn from Texas. He's just wrong about what the lesson is.
Photo by Mandy OaklanderPaula Harris helmed an emergency HISD meeting this morning.This morning, an emergency meeting was called by HISD officials who are growing more desperate as severe budget cuts looms closer. About 10 parents sat in Pin Oak Middle School's cafeteria and listened to board ... 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 >>
Could Valero empty the coffers of Texas schools?
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 >>
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, ... More >>
The City of Houston and the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority are currently suing multiple travel websites such as Orbitz and Priceline over tax revenues it claims the sites owe it. Online travel sites pay wholesale prices to hotels for rooms and then customers book those rooms at a mark-up fro ... More >>
Critics say Perry's turnpike plans will take a terrible toll on Texans
Bugged about property taxes? Buy a skyscraper.
The city is rolling out the welcome mat for CITGO. But many workers want the company to get lost.
The county says a candidate's home value is no White lie
Mayoral candidate Michael Berry might want to vet his own supporters' bill-paying histories
Will local groups get hammered by the post-terrorist hotel tax dive?
Questions about conflicts of interest and motives cloud a $77 million city housing deal
Take one tax rebate, a Houston man advises, and apply liberally
With Brown adrift, can this trio carry the ball?
Two trustees didn't pay their bills, even if HCCS wants yours to go higher
Want a subsidy for your corporate expansion? Local governments are ready with millions in property-tax abatements -- and very little oversight.
The city's first TIRZ set many precedents -- not all of them good
An A.G.'s opinion only adds to the questions over Houston's special tax districts
The city of Houston is exploiting loopholes in state law to lavish big bucks on private developers
Special tax zones are already stimulating growth-a thriving cottage industry of attorneys, lobbyists, high paid consultants, developers and questionable financial projections
The city of Houston is being carved into special taxing districts, promising windfalls for some, financial burdens for others
For Bush, the legislative session shows it's better to look good than do good
Prolonged agency abuses bring a Houston attorney $1.5 million
The Guv readies surplus handouts in a legislative lovefest
With help from Democrats Pete Laney and Bob Bullock, Bush has been a Republican governor Texans love. But who'll be his pals if he sets his sights on the presidency?
James Farmer and Cliff Williams do their best to irk the IRS
Big money, big lobbyists, big tax breaks. The Mills Corporation is bringing one of its "megamalls" to Katy, and it's hardly business as usual in the little town on the prairie.
As arts funding shrinks, the downtown powers rush to make sure they get theirs
Don't like the IRS? Neither does Bill Archer. And now the mild-mannered Houston congressman is pushing a radical plan to shut it down.
What are the penalties in Harris County's tax collection deal with Heard, Goggan?
The hospital district gives the county $30 million, it gets a budget back. Good deal.
When the tax assessor raises the value of one house on a block through the roof, the question is: Who's next?