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.

Houston’s General Plan

Despite lacking a “general plan” over the years, Houston has nonetheless enjoyed economic diversity, expansive growth not confined to the city center, and an affordable lifestyle. These successes have to be attributed to the city’s ability to respond to the needs of...

Astrobond

Once called the “8th Wonder of the World,” the Houston Astrodome now sits desolate and decaying in the shadows of NRG Stadium and convention center. With ideas floating around about what should become of the architectural relic, the only thing certain is that...

Road Bond: For Better or For Worse

Road Bond: For Better or For Worse

At the introduction of the Montgomery County road bond a few months ago, County Judge Craig Doyal stated that a bond this large would result in a property tax increase for residents. He along with steering committee chair Nelda Luce Blair have since flipped, with both...

Montgomery County Moving Forward On Bond Package

Montgomery County Moving Forward On Bond Package

Montgomery County residents are calling it the most divisive political issue they have seen in a long time. But even with significant pushback from opponents, county officials are pressing forward with the countywide $350 million road bond. After countless blog posts,...

Houston’s TIRZ Explosion

Houston’s TIRZ Explosion

The blame for Texas’ local debt epidemic is typically assigned to city councils and school boards. But little attention is given to the unelected boards that govern Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ), which also have the ability to tax and borrow on behalf of...

Allen Parkway Anti-Improvement Plan

Allen Parkway Anti-Improvement Plan

For Houstonians commuting between River Oaks and Downtown, Allen Parkway has traditionally been most convenient. The three-lane highway’s lack of congestion compared to other regional roadways has made it a blessing for commuters. Unfortunately, Houston City Council...

Montgomery County’s $350 Million Road Bond

Montgomery County’s $350 Million Road Bond

The Montgomery County Commissioners Court unanimously agreed to ignore the concerns of many of their constituents in a recent bond proposal on the upcoming May ballot. The Commissioners Court approved a project presented to the court by the Montgomery County Road Bond...

Is HISD’s $4 Million Facility Study A Precursor to Another Bond?

Is HISD’s $4 Million Facility Study A Precursor to Another Bond?

It appears another HISD bond proposal looms on the horizon, according to district superintendent, Terry Grier. Although he wouldn’t commit to a timeline, the $4 million facility study recently approved by the HISD school board signals it’s coming in the very near...