Round One – Cities down but Not out:
TML Speaks Forcefully Against Assault on Cities
The Texas Senate has wasted no time moving the governor and lt. governor’s anti-city agenda forward. The first special session began 11 days ago, and the Senate has passed at least six bills that would seriously harm city residents. Those bills would impose taxing and spending limits, grant a property owner veto from development regulations, eliminate annexation, preempt tree and cell phone ordinances, and more. (See detailed information on each in “Significant Floor Actions” elsewhere in this edition.)
Prior to passage by the full Senate, Senate committees held testimony on the bills. The Senate Business and Commerce Committee met last Saturday to consider numerous preemption bills, including “super-vesting,” expedited permitting, trees, and handsfree cell phone ordinances. TML President Mary Dennis, Mayor of Live Oak, testified in favor of compromise tree mitigation fee legislation (H.B. 7) in lieu of complete preemption of city authority (H.B. 70). To see her testimony, which ended in a standing ovation from most of the crowd in the committee room, click here.
The newly-formed Senate Select Committee on Government Reform also met last Saturday to consider revenue cap and other property tax reforms. League staff testified for over half an hour on the detrimental effects of a revenue cap, with committee members resorting to attacks on the integrity of the League’s witness when their substantive arguments fell short. To see that exchange, click here.
The Senate State Affairs Committee met last Sunday to consider annexation limitations (S.B. 6). League staff and numerous city officials testified about the detrimental affects that annexation restrictions would have on the Texas economy. To see the League testimony, click here.
All these harmful ideas are now in the hands of the Texas House. City officials who oppose any or all of them should contact their House member immediately.