Commissioner Ellis’ Statement on Commissioners Cagle and Ramsey Blocking Critical Investments in Harris County

25 Oct, 22

Commissioners Tom Ramsey and Jack Cagle’s forced budget cuts will deny Harris County families urgently needed investments in health care, safety, flood resilience and more. They have betrayed the people we serve and put lives at risk.  

There were two empty chairs where Ramsey and Cagle should have been seated at the table, but they never showed up. Those two empty chairs equal 10,000 patients who will lose access to life-saving care because Ramsey and Cagle didn’t show up. Cagle and Ramsey’s empty chairs mean the Sherriff’s Department loses out on $44 million to protect our communities. Neighborhood flood projects will be delayed because of Cagle and Ramsey’s two empty chairs. Those two empty chairs represent 4.6 million residents who deserve better than Ramsey and Cagle gambling with their lives and livelihoods for a political payout.


The consequences of Commissioners Cagle and Ramsey refusing to attend six Commissioners Court meeting to force a no-new-revenue rate and insufficient budget include:

Harris Health System, which is underfunded, will cut life-saving services for 10,000 patients, including cancer screenings, dialysis, mental health treatment, and home health care. These cuts to services are especially concerning given that:

  • Nearly 1 million people—20% of Harris County’s population—are underinsured;
  • Harris County already experiences some of the highest maternal and infant mortality, and morbidity rates in the entire country, which will be exacerbated by the Texas abortion ban;
  • Harris County has experienced a decrease in average life expectancy from 78 to 69 years between 2019 and 2022 

The Harris County Sherriff’s Office will lose $44 million to fund Patrol and Detention:

  • $16.6 million to fund Patrol and Administration, the equivalent of 175 entry-level deputies, will not be available.
  • $23.6 million to fund Detention, the equivalent of 277 detention officers for the jail, will not be available.

Public Health and Pollution Control, which have been chronically underfunded for years, both provide services that are vital to the health and safety of Harris County families and our environment. They will continue to be underfunded despite the challenges faced by Harris County in terms of the pandemic, poor air quality, multiple industrial disasters, and environmental injustices in communities that have been exposed to toxic pollutants.