Local governments in Texas are responsible for providing important services to the citizens in their areas – police, firefighters, EMT’s, hospitals, public schools, etc. In order to pay for these services, local governments collect taxes – sales taxes, property taxes, and others. These essential services are expected in a civil society and are a wise use of our tax dollars.
But many local governments in Texas have not been using our tax dollars wisely. They continue to increase property taxes on families and businesses every year then they spend that money to hire fancy third party lobbyists in Austin. While in Austin, these contract lobbyists pass laws on behalf of the local governments – but it is often to increase taxes on citizens and give local government more control over their lives.
In 2017 alone, local governments spent $41 million of local tax dollars to hire lobbyists in Austin. Most of them lobbied to defeat property tax reform legislation that would have helped Texas families keep more of their paychecks. They were successful and the local governments got what they wanted – the ability to keep raising your taxes, so they can hire more lobbyists, to keep increasing your taxes.
This surreptitious practice is in major need of reform. An outright ban on taxpayer funded lobbying is needed. But at the very least, the legislature must demand increased transparency for how our money is being spent by local governments.