New website tool in Houston shows where taxes go

October 6, 2011 5:28:41 AM PDT
Houston has a new tool on the city's website that lets residents know how their property tax dollars are being spent.

The Houston Chronicle reports Thursday that the "My Tax Dollars at Work" feature allows users to plug in the appraised value of their home, note a homestead exemption and then receive a customized report.

The site generates a department-by-department estimate so they can find out what they pay for garbage pickup or to have the fire department on call to douse their burning house.

Councilwoman Melissa Noriega says taxes are an "investment" in one's city and "people should know where their taxes go."

Keith Elkins with the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas praises the initiative's transparency and says more cities should do the same thing.