In light of the reverse intergovernmental aid and state budget articles in this issue, is there any good news to report?  There is.  When is it a good thing that Texas cities receive virtually no state funding?  How about when the state is facing an estimated $27-billion budget deficit.

The National League of Cities recently released the results of its 2011 State Municipal League Legislative Issues and Priorities Survey, in which state municipal leagues reported on the legislative issues that most affect cities in their state.  Interestingly, out of 37 state municipal leagues that responded to the survey, 18 listed “the protection of shared revenue with the state” or “state budget concerns” as their top legislative priority in 2011.  The results are not that surprising, considering that most states provide direct financial assistance to cities in recognition of the fact that cities provide basic services on which the entire state depends. 

Unlike other states, Texas cities are forced to generate their own revenue.  Although many Texas cities are currently dealing with their own fiscal woes, they can take some solace in knowing that their capacity to govern will not be significantly linked to the state budget appropriations process in a year the legislature must close an unprecedented gap.  Massive budget cuts will dramatically reduce the amount of funding for social services and education in this state.  If Texas cities relied on state revenue to fund essential city services, they could expect to see a similarly drastic reduction in funding.

Texas cities are fortunate that they don’t have to rely on state funding to do their jobs (and perhaps some of the state’s jobs, too).  The full survey results are available at

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