Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.
Parker Plays Politics with Petitions

Parker Plays Politics with Petitions

After the ongoing and predictably divisive battle surrounding Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (ERO), one would expect a just and representative government to identify the very flaws that originally caused the contention. One would also expect an effort from officials...

Houston’s Funny Numbers

Houston’s Funny Numbers

At this point many people in and around the Bayou City have come to the same conclusion—Houston’s broke. It’s taken some time to accept given that the city has been the fastest growing of the ten largest metro areas. But the years of overspending and deferring...

Texas Supreme Court Suspends HERO

Texas Supreme Court Suspends HERO

Today, the Texas Supreme Court suspended Houston’s equal rights ordinance (HERO). The court’s opinion stated, “We agree with the Relators that the City Secretary certified their petition and thereby invoked the City Council’s ministerial duty to reconsider and repeal...

Turner Against Open-Carry in Houston

Turner Against Open-Carry in Houston

State Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston), a leading candidate for Mayor of Houston, has twice expressed his dissatisfaction with Houston being the largest major city where openly carrying handguns will be allowed once the law goes into effect Jan 1, 2016. At the Texas...

Houston’s Capital Improvement Budget Misallocation

Houston’s Capital Improvement Budget Misallocation

Following a series of divisive debates this year, Houston City Council passed its Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) budget, which will act as a five year guide for projects across the city. Only three council members voted against the plan, with Council Member Dave...

Who is to Blame for Houston’s Credit?

Who is to Blame for Houston’s Credit?

Moody’s, one of three major credit rating agencies, has revised their outlook on Houston to negative citing the growing debt and pension obligations that city officials have continually failed to address. The report states, “Houston’s economy continues to benefit from...

Bayou City Lobbying For More Government

Bayou City Lobbying For More Government

Taxpayer funded lobbying was a persistent theme throughout much of the 84th Legislative Session with the Texas Senate Research Center noting that over forty-two percent of registered lobbyists in Austin were representing city and county governments—that number...

Houston Officials Hate Residential Tax Relief

Houston Officials Hate Residential Tax Relief

For the second consecutive year Houstonians can expect to get a minor break on their property taxes. According to Houston City Controller Ronald Green, preliminary projections determine the city is expected to have to forego collecting $53 million in new property...