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White v. Vasquez

Harris County Tax Assessor Leo Vasquez says Look at me!”

Mayor Bill White and Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Leo Vasquez traded barbs Tuesday over two contracts that have led relations between the city and county to what Mayor Bill White called a “low point” just as he is leaving office to run for governor.

Vasquez went to City Council’s public session ostensibly to urge White to sign a contract raising the amount the city pays the county to collect Houston property taxes, but it quickly became clear his remarks had a political edge as he accused White of leaving the city’s budget in “disastrous” condition.

“Mr. Mayor, I urge you to quit wasting time and not leave this mess for others to clean up after you,” Vasquez said. “Please sign the updated fee agreement so that the rest of us can get on with the business of government.”

White responded by blasting Vasquez for failing to communicate with him about the disputed contracts.

You can read Vasquez’s press release, which reads like it came out of Rick Perry’s political shop, here, and White’s response letter here. One of them sounds like a responsible adult, the other, well, read them and see for yourself. Honestly, for the relatively small amount in question, it’s hard to see why that press release, with the tone it adopts, would be the right call. I mean, can you imagine Ed Emmett doing something like that? I can’t. KUHF has more.

On a side note:

Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack said he has “no relationship with the new mayor,” noting that she called him once during the course of the campaign, asking to meet, and he did not do so.

“When the city talks about cooperation, what they’re trying to say to the county is, ‘please send money,’ ” he said.

Sure, Steve. Please tell me, how much in taxes does the county derive from Houston residents, and just how much does the county spend building roads and parks here? I just love seeing my tax dollars going to boondoggles like the Grand Parkway. You show me how much of your budget comes from City of Houston monies, and then we can talk about who’s supporting whom.

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  1. […] of Houston budget, but they sure as heck do come in part from city of Houston tax dollars. And as noted before, as is the case with things like roads and parks, the city doesn’t get back nearly as much as […]