Today, Harris County Commissioners Court passed our 2024 budget. This budget is not just numbers on paper; it represents our values and a commitment to addressing the critical needs of our diverse communities.
This budget builds a future in which communities are safer, healthier, and better protected from flooding and climate change. It represents a set of investments in a more just legal system, expanded access to health care, housing, and jobs, and the advancement of fair and free elections. With today’s vote, this vision comes closer to fruition despite Austin politicians' efforts to kneecap local control and restrict our ability to invest in our communities.
State laws and political games by extremist members of Commissioners Court have cost our residents nearly $2 billion in resources over the past five years. These numbers translate into real and immediate effects on every Harris County resident, particularly those who have borne the brunt of inequity and underinvestment for decades.
Yet, despite the best efforts of Austin politicians, we’re making real and sustained progress with programs that expand access to opportunity advance justice, and make our communities stronger and safer. The budget we've adopted for 2024 aims to sustain or expand services in several key areas:
- Keeping communities healthy and safe by expanding Holistic Assistance Responder Teams that
send interdisciplinary teams to 911 calls for homelessness, behavioral health, and social welfare
- concerns and free up law enforcement time for public safety emergencies
- Preparing and protecting communities from flooding
- Fighting climate change and addressing environmental injustice
- Supporting individuals in putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their heads
- Creating good jobs and opportunities for working families
- Expanding access to healthcare and reducing health disparities
- Providing access to affordable childcare and youth services
While this budget represents a step in the right direction, significant unmet needs and challenges remain. We are aware that state roadblocks may continue to hinder our progress, but rest assured, we remain committed to pushing forward.
We are thankful for all those who have shown up in court, advocating for the vital services your communities need and deserve. Know that I am dedicated to working alongside you to improve the quality of life for every resident of Harris County.