Too Many Taxing Jurisdictions

Individually monitoring all of the entities that spend tax dollars would be an enormous burden, when compared to monitoring a single newspaper. For example, there are 496 Property Tax Entities in Harris County, Texas, and if each of them posted notices to their own websites instead of publishing to the local newspaper, a citizen interested in following public spending would have to monitor 496 different entity websites in order to follow government spending in that county alone. In fact, in 2011, the Houston Chronicle published public notices from 588 different state and local public entities. The ease of turning to a single publication for all of these notices, as opposed to looking the notices up on 588 different websites is significant.

There is growing concern in Texas about how the number of taxing districts in Texas makes it difficult for citizens to participate in public governance. Newspaper publication of public notice is one of the few things that enables citizens to stay informed about this vast array of entities spending taxpayer dollars.

The Houston area is not alone in the density of taxing entities. The following is a list of counties with a large numbers of taxing entities.

  • Bexar County- 62
  • Brazoria County- 75
  • Dallas County – 61
  • Denton County- 87
  • Fort Bend County- 187
  • Galveston County- 65
  • Harris County- 496
  • Hidalgo County- 47
  • Montgomery County- 117
  • Tarrant county- 71
  • Travis County- 118
  • Williamson County- 76

Citizens can check the number of taxing districts in their county at this website: 

http://www.texastransparency.org/Special_Features/Reports/Taxing_Facts/Property_Tax_Entities.php