Harris County will be operating fiscal year 2023-24 on a $2.7 billion budget, a $500 million increase from last year’s budget of $2.2 billion, after commissioners unanimously approved the amount on Sept. 19.

The approved budget includes a total for all departments at $2.395 billion as well as $345 million in working capital, according to agenda documents. Commissioners also approved $128 million for Harris County Flood Control and $398 million for the Harris County Toll Road Authority.

  • Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo did not vote on the budget due to her medical leave absence and is expected to return in October. Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis has led the meetings in her absence.

“There’s nothing more important that we do than the budget. It’s the most fundamental, most important thing we can say about our values,” Ellis said.

The budget, according to agenda documents, will strategically invest countywide in:

  • Employee retention, with cost-of-living adjustments for civilian employees
  • Public health and safety
  • Additional district criminal courts
  • Expanding public defender’s office
  • Infrastructure
  • Flood resiliency
Quote of note

“This budget provides $119 million for law enforcement. That is this most significant investment in law enforcement in the history of Harris County,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey said at the meeting.

Commissioners pointed out the united efforts among all parties and departments to reach this year’s budget, compared to last year’s political showdown, which resulted in two Republican commissioners, including Ramsey, sitting out of the tax rate votes and forcing the county to adopt four no-new-revenue tax rates. Ramsey thanked his colleagues and county Budget Director Daniel Ramos for their cooperation.

“How the budget process was done at this table was a stark difference to how it was done last year. May this be an example of how we do this in the future,” Ramsey said.


Commissioners set the tax rates for the county, the Harris County Flood Control District, the hospital district and the Port of Houston.

  • While the approved overall tax rate of $0.53029 per $100 valuation is a reduction from last year’s tax rate of $0.53058, officials with the Harris County Office of Management and Budget originally proposed a $0.52664 rate at the end of August.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia said in a news release public safety remains a top priority of the budget, making up more than half of the county budget.

“I’m also proud that for the fifth straight year, we have lowered the property tax rate, while not sacrificing our ability to rebuild our aging infrastructure, create a workforce for jobs today and into the future, and combat the climate crisis with clean energy. Meanwhile, we are lowering costs by reducing the price of tolls and by shoring up the supply chain with expanded capacity at Port Houston,” Garcia said.

Also of note

For the first time, commissioners held public budget town hall meetings in their respective precincts in August leading up to the September vote, allowing residents to voice their concerns and questions with county funding in their communities. In Precinct 3, Ramsey said in a news release at least 200 people attended.

“We are raising the bar. We need to keep doing that,” Precinct 4 Commissioner Lesley Briones said.

Going forward

Oct. 1 is when the adopted budget will go into effect, lasting until Sept. 30, 2024.