After taxpayers in one Texas town rejected a proposed $12.6 million debt proposal, city bureaucrats and their enablers are taking issue with a local lawmaker who stood with taxpayers.
Earlier this month, taxpayers in Fredericksburg shot down a city bond proposal that would have added new baseball, softball, and soccer fields to a local park by narrow margin of only 100 votes. After the defeat, local officials are fuming at one particular citizen, State Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R—Fredericksburg), for leading the opposition.
It is extremely rare and politically risky to see a state lawmaker take a public stance against “tax and spend” proposals made by local officials inside their own district, but rather than sit on the sidelines as voters considered the bond, Biedermann rolled up his sleeves, like any other citizen should, to protect his fellow Texans from a tax increase.
He founded a group called “Concerned Taxpayers for Fredericksburg” with a Facebook page intended to activate his fellow citizens, placed an anti-bond yard sign in the parking lot of his business, Biedermann’s Ace Hardware, spoke against the bond at city council meetings, and sent out campaign mailers encouraging his fellow citizens to vote “No.”
Now, city administrators and the mainstream media are lambasting him for his “anonymous Facebook page,” for which he filed a DBA in Gillespie County, and casting his efforts as some secret and sinister scheme.
Fredericksburg Mayor Linda Langerhans went as far as to call Biedermann’s involvement in defeating the bond proposal “detrimental” and complained about his activism as a community leader.
Speaking with the Texas Tribune, an online newspaper sponsored by the Austin lobby, Langerhans grumbled that in her decade plus tenure in city government, she was “not aware of Gillespie County ever having a state representative that got as involved in our local political issues.”
“It’s very difficult when you have meetings with numerous people in the room that have ideas, and [Biedermann] seems to be much more vocal, and takes up a lot of the time addressing his concerns and his ideas,” she further complained.
But Biedermann isn’t backing down.
“Attempting to say I hid behind a Facebook page is laughable. Everyone in the community knew I was opposing the bond, and the majority of voters agreed with me,” Biedermann told the same publication. “There is nothing to regret, and I will continue to openly communicate my position on this issue.”
Biedermann also published an op-ed in the Fredericksburg Standard in which he wrote, “I believe the park bond being voted down is a tremendous victory for Fredericksburg. Now we have the chance to do it better, smarter, and together for all of our citizens and also to consider improvements and maintenance to our existing parks and recreational areas.”
Given his record, taxpayers shouldn’t be condemning Biedermann for working with his fellow citizens to oppose the bond. They should be commending him for his courage and willingness to speak out for taxpayers, even if doing so upsets “tax and spend” local officials.
And taxpayers in Fredericksburg should be proud that their lawmaker didn’t just stand up and fight for them in Austin, earning a 96 on the Fiscal Responsibility Index this last session, but that he’s willing to stand up and fight with them at home.
All too often, elected officials refrain from engaging on issues because they’re afraid of offending the fellow lawmakers that they see at local fundraisers, at the Chamber of Commerce, and other events. But citizens should expect better. Citizens should expect and demand that all the leaders they elect stand up and actively engage with their community on issues that matter.