The budgetary process of Harris County



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Harris County's annual budgetary process is an example of the incremental budgeting that is characteristic of the local levels of American governments. An examination of the budget and the manner by which it is put together reveals the weaknesses of county government. The budget is a statement of the fragmentation of power in the county's organization, its limited sources of revenue, and consequently, its inability to meet the growing demands of an urban, rather than rural, environment. Politics is the basic ingredient for the retention of the status quo in the system; basic political changes will be necessary if the budgeting process is to be made more responsive. The need for fixing responsibility is a critical problem. Adequate authority and additional revenue sources must accompany any structural change. The county is the logical choice for handling areawide services in the future, but its organization and powers must be centralized and strengthened. Public leadership, state and local, must work together to reshape the county's government if it is to become an entity that can respond with solutions to the many problems of urban life.



Harris County, County budget