Access Your Uncle Sam, Part II

Tired of long lines or busy phones if you need to find out some government information or need a government service?

The federal government has just created a Web "super-search engine" named USA.gov which is free, will protect your privacy, and will get you to authorized federal government information, such as information about Social Security, fairly quickly & easily.

USA.gov is intended to be your first resource to find any government information on the Internet, with topics ranging from business and economy to money and benefits to science and technology - and everything in between!

Not only can you find information but you can also perform online transactions ranging from buying stamps online to paying your taxes online and applying for student financial aid online!

But what if you have a state question, specifically a question regarding the state of Texas?

Texas Online is also up and running now. "This secure, one-stop web site - the first phase of Texas' e-government initiative - provides access to Texas government services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visitors can renew certain licenses and certifications, apply for permits and much more. TexasOnline will enhance Texas government by making it more accessible, efficient and responsive to all Texans."

OK, but what if you need a county service, specifically Harris County?

Four of the most popular Harris County county sites now all have searchable databases.

The Harris County Clerk's site allows free searches of the Real Property, Assumed Names, Marriage Licenses, Vital Statistics, etc. databases.

The Tax Assessor-Collector's site hopes to answer any questions regarding property taxation, vehicle registration, or voter registration. Both the property records and the voter registration databases are searchable for free.

The Harris County Appraisal District allows one to search its real property records to find out not only the appraised value but which taxing entities, including school districts community college districts, emergency services districts and municipal water districts, tax that property. One can also find out who owns a particular piece of property, all for free.

The District Clerk's site, for a fee and a required training class, allows "public remote computer access to the District Clerk's criminal and civil records. Subscribers using this service can get the same information at a remote location as they can get from the public computer terminals in the courthouse."

The City of Houston also has an easy to use Web site with lots of information about city government services, in English or in Spanish.

So the next time you have a question about government whether federal, state, or local, get online and start getting answers!

For more information see:

  • USA.gov
  • Access America for Students
  • Workers.gov: Connecting American Workers & the Families to Govt. Services & Info.
  • MapStats
  • Government Information Xchange
  • Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids
  • Accessing Your Uncle Sam
  • Texas Online
  • Harris County Clerk
  • Tax Assessor-Collector
  • Harris County Appraisal District
  • District Clerk
  • City of Houston
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    Last Modified: 1/21/2007