Drainage Fee Sagas – Your tax, Their Tax, It’s all my Tax

The County and the City have been in a spat over the application of the City of Houston’s drainage fee on Reliant Stadium. Discussions on this property have been ongoing for months.

Most county property is exempt from paying the drainage fee but the Reliant Park property is considered income-producing. While it is a county managed property, the nature of it is that people pay to attend most of the events there and that it earns enough money to sustain itself.

Thus, the City deemed it appropriate to charge Reliant Park the drainage fee to the tune of more than $300,000. It now appears that the County and the City are working out a compromise on the fee.

However, this one episode illustrates the complex nature of government in our region. We have several levels of government and taxing entities. For example, I pay taxes to the City of Houston, HISD, Harris County, Harris County Hospital District and more. But the unwritten rule of governance has always been that the County primarily focuses on providing services to the unincorporated areas of Harris County while the City and other municipalities cover their own areas.

Is this fair really? I pay lots of taxes to Harris County but receive little service. They do manage voter registration and our taxes. I deal with them to get a license plate or to file new business paperwork. Those residents of the region who need public health care are provided services but we pay a specific tax for that.

The bulk of dollars spent in my County Commissioner’s Precinct go to build roads, parks and other infrastructure outside of the city limits.

We’re tired of squabbling between these entities. We encourage you to look for duplicative services and eliminate them. Quit arguing over which of my tax dollars are going to pay for the other government’s property. It’s all our money in the end.

We encourage Harris County, area municipalities, and area school districts to look for ways to collaborate to garner the most value from our tax dollars! In the end, it’s still money from our pockets going to sustain all of your entities.

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