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As if the mere concept of municipalities using taxpayer funds to lobby the state legislature wasn’t abhorrently anti-taxpayer enough, one look at a municipality’s recently-approved legislative agenda for the upcoming legislative session makes a strong case for unilaterally abolishing the practice.

At last Thursday’s meeting, the Austin City Council approved their legislative agenda for the upcoming 85th Legislative Session. Surprising no one, the agenda is a laundry list of anti-taxpayer and grow-government reforms designed to either hold onto or grow the municipalities taxing and regulatory authority.

Noteworthy items include:

  • Opposing efforts to limit the city’s ability to unconstitutionally restrict the rights of its citizens through regulatory authority, specifically:
    • banning plastic bags, regulating ridesharing companies, banning short-term rentals, and nanny-state health regulations such as smoking bans;
  • Opposing any measures (such as revenue caps) that might force the city to approach spending issues responsibly, or limit their ability to take more money from residents;
  • Opposing efforts to end the city’s ability to fund abortion clinics;
  • Oppose efforts to diminish the city’s invulnerability versus citizens in legal matters via sovereign immunity; and
  • Oppose efforts to limit a municipality’s ability to annex homeowners into their tax base without their consent.

The adopted agenda can be read here.

The City of Austin regularly spends nearly a $1 million in taxpayer funds per year on professional lobbyists to scurry around the Capitol. This legislative session will be no different.

Municipalities in Texas already have too much unchecked regulatory and taxing authority over residents. Naturally, a municipal corporation is not going to support or advocate measures that would limit their authority – but allowing them to use money taken coercively from their residents to push an aggressively anti-taxpayer agenda is especially disgusting.

Unintentionally, the City of Austin has made a compelling case to end the practice altogether.

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