Governments in Texas not only use taxpayer funds to hire outside lobbying firms, they also pay dues to third-party associations to represent their anti-taxpayer interests. The Texas Municipal League, a voluntary association of over 1,100 cities, is pushing a legislative philosophy aimed at unconditionally protecting government interests instead of securing the liberties and rights of their residents.

TML’s legislative program details the three, government-centered principles from which all their policy positions emanate.

The first is that the League will, “vigorously oppose any legislation that would erode the authority of Texas cities to govern their own affairs.” In other words, regardless of a policy’s merit, any measure that would restrict a city’s authority will be opposed. Instead of unconditionally opposing legislation that erodes the constitutional rights of Texans, TML’s priority is preserving unlimited municipal authority.

The second principle is an extension of the first. It says the League will resist any efforts to “diminish [city] revenue.” Once again, instead of advocating for measures that encourage fiscal stewardship, the prioritization of core services, responsible debt usage, transparency, controls on government growth, or other pro-taxpayer positions, TML exclusively prioritizes a government-centered interest—unlimited tax burdens.

The third priority is seemingly insignificant, but upon careful reflection, equally offensive to taxpayer interests. It reads, “the League will oppose the imposition of any state mandates that do not provide for a commensurate level of compensation.” Stated differently, cities don’t want the legislature to create unfunded mandates…unless the state pays for them.

A taxpayer-centered governing ideology would recognize that, regardless of which government pays the cost of a policy mandate, the same taxpayers are burdened.

Simply put, TML does not care about Texans. As evidenced by their stated agenda, protecting residents and taxpayers is not even an afterthought. In fact, nowhere in their list of more than two hundred legislative agenda items can you find a policy stance that suggests the role of government is to serve their residents and secure their God-given rights.

If there’s one thing that is clear, TML only exists to ensure that cities govern as they please—for better or worse. As we’ve previously covered, their agenda places politicians first and Texans last. It’s time for city officials who pay dues to TML demand that their pro-big-government, anti-taxpayer priorities change or face a withdrawal in taxpayer funding.

Ross Kecseg

Ross Kecseg was the president of Texas Scorecard. He passed away in 2020. A native North Texan, he was raised in Denton County. Ross studied Economics at Arizona State University with an emphasis on Public Policy and U.S. Constitutional history. Ross was an avid golfer, automotive enthusiast, and movie/music junkie. He was a loving husband and father.