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Government

The State of Texas

The City of Houston has a mayor-council form of government. The council members and the mayor are elected for concurrent two-year terms.

Voter Registration

To register to vote in Texas, a person must be a U. S. citizen, at least 17 years 10 months of age, not be a convicted felon or ruled mentally incompetent and be a resident of the county in which registration will occur.

To register to vote, obtain a voters' registration certificate through the Office of the Tax Assessor-Collector, 1001 Preston, 2nd Floor, Room 200, or at any branch office. You may call 713-368-2200 for an application, or obtain an application at the Harris County Tax Office Web site. Voting eligibility begins 30 days from the registration certificate date. Applications become permanent registrations with new certificates issued biannually. Applications are also available from Trainee & Alumni Affairs.

There are 14 branch offices open Monday-Friday 7:45 a.m.- 4:45 p.m. They are Baytown, Bellaire, Clay Road, Clear Lake, Cypresswood, Humble, Kyle Chapman, Mickey Leland, Palm Center, Pasadena, Raul C. Martinez, Spring Branch, Tomball and Wallisville. It is not necessary to register with a party affiliation. However, at the primary election, your registration certificate will be stamped with "voted name of party" and the date.

Taxes

Texas does not have a state, local, personal or corporate income tax. However, the city of Houston has a sales tax, a city tax and a Metropolitan Transit Authority tax, totaling 8.25% sales tax on all non-food items. Property assessment and tax rates are determined by local budgeting needs and vary by locality. The Office of the Tax Assessor - Collector provides property tax information.

Community Property

Texas is a community property state. This means that all property, real and personal, that is acquired by a husband and wife during their marriage, and while residents of Texas, is community property, and each owns one-half. Community property does not include gifts, inheritances, property acquired before marriage or property that was considered separate in another state where the couple lived at the time of the acquisition. However, any income from such separate property is considered community property.

It is important to remember that probate laws in Texas are different. Any prior arrangements made concerning your estate, including a will, should be reviewed to determine their validity in Texas.

Postal Services

Please visit the U. S. Postal Service Web site for information on services in your area.

Legal Services

Houston Bar Association (HBA) is a nonprofit professional organization for attorneys. The HBA provides education, professional development and service programs for both the legal profession and the community. After an initial interview at nominal charge to determine the merits of your case, the staff will refer you to someone who specializes in your type of legal problem.

For all types of cases, call Lawyer Referral Service at 713-237-9429 or 1-800-289-4577. For criminal cases, contact Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association at 713- 951-9555.

Notary Service

Trainee & Alumni Affairs has a notary public and would be glad to notarize your documents at no cost. Call 713-792-2696 for an appointment.

State Government Services

Austin, located in central Texas, is the state capitol. For information about state government services and policies contact:

Texas State Capitol
100 East 11th Street
Austin, Texas 78701
1-512-463-5495

 


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