Contact Your Legislators Now

As the special session approaches, the governor has been setting up House and Senate “teams” of legislators to move forward an agenda full of items that would limit city authority.  Each time a senator and representative agrees to author related legislation, the governor’s office issues a press release on this website.  Here are some excerpts from, and comments on, those releases:

  • Spending Cap (Population Plus Inflation):  “The bill I will be filing during the special session will rein in irresponsible spending by local elected officials and grant the taxpayers with the ultimate authority to make the final call on government growth that exceeds that of growth plus inflation,” said Jason Villalba (R – Dallas).    

Public safety spending makes up a huge portion of most cities’ budgets.  A local spending cap will hit law enforcement the hardest.  Police officers certainly can’t do their jobs without the local funding needed for salaries, training, and equipment.  Moreover, Colorado enacted the nation’s only population-plus-inflation spending cap in 1992, but that state suspended it for five years in 2005 in response to a sharp decline in public services. At least 30 states have seen similar proposals since 2004, but no other state has adopted them. 

  • Annexation:  “Cities abusing their authority with forced annexation practices is nothing more than a form of taxation without representation,” said Governor Abbott. “Cities that annex property without the approval from those affected is piracy by government, and it must end.”

The governor recently tweeted about Texas cities ranking in the top 15 for the most high-tech jobs.  Austin, Round Rock, Houston, and Sugar Land are on that list.  What else do they have in common?  All prudently use annexation to deal with the resultant population growth and to keep their communities thriving.  He also tweeted:  “more jobs and new truck plant coming to Texas. Great work by McKinney Economic Development Corp.”  McKinney also uses annexation to ensure a sustainable economy and quality of life for its residents.

The only way cities will retain their ability to provide adequate public safety, economic development, and economic prosperity is if you “man your battle stations.”   You should call your legislators and tell them “thanks, but no thanks.”  You know best how to run your city, and you don’t need this type of “help” from Austin. 

Future editions of the Legislative Update will continue to inform you of your state leaders’ thoughts on your ability to respond to citizen needs.

TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose. No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the Texas Municipal League. 

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