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.
Harris County’s Houston Problem

Harris County’s Houston Problem

With the legislative session underway, Harris County is looking forward to legislation that will help them recoup much needed funds that are currently being collected by the City of Houston. A favorable bill would require Houston to spend more of the tax revenue...

HISD Comes Up Short Again

HISD Comes Up Short Again

At a Special Meeting on January 22nd, Houston ISD Board Members were delivered an unpromising update from the bond department on the status of their 2012 bond program and ongoing projects. The report notified board members that after asking Houston voters to approve...

Houston Feeding Ordinance

Houston Feeding Ordinance

In a time when we should encourage charitable giving, Houston’s Feeding Ordinance does exactly the opposite.  In classic political-doublespeak fashion, the adversely named ordinance increases the level of government dependency and actively punishes those trying to...

Houston: Behind The Veil

Houston: Behind The Veil

From the outside, Houston appears to be a model metropolis, with commercial growth throughout the city, relatively inexpensive housing (for a large city), and a young population taking advantage of the rapid job creation. But behind the veil lies a different Houston,...

Mayor Parker’s Immigration Action

Mayor Parker’s Immigration Action

Continuing in her trend of being the antagonist of Houstonians, Mayor Annise Parker has joined a coalition of big-city Mayors from across the country to express their support for President Obama’s unilateral immigration reforms. New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio,...

Bayou City Favors Big Business Over Taxpayers

Bayou City Favors Big Business Over Taxpayers

With debate looming over a possible repeal of the voter-imposed property tax cap, one would think city officials would feel compelled to do everything in their power to responsibly manage taxpayer dollars in attempt to avoid passing the burden onto Houstonians....

Mayor Parker’s Problem with the Constitution

Mayor Parker’s Problem with the Constitution

With Houston entering the last year of Mayor Annise Parker’s term, her legacy will surely be remembered as one besieged in controversy. As her equal rights ordinance will be challenged in court in just a few weeks, Parker is continuously looking for ways to silence...

Houston’s Incumbent Advantage

Houston’s Incumbent Advantage

With less than a year before Houstonians head to the polls to elect a new mayor, city council, and a host of other citywide offices, early candidates are starting to throw their names in the ring vying for these respective positions. Among these early candidates are...