Although many local officials seem to be on the “grow-government” bandwagon, a growing number are vocally standing up for taxpayers. In direct response to the radical agenda supported at this year’s U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), 11 mayors across North Texas recently signed a letter explicitly rejecting it.
A majority of USCM members have embraced liberal initiatives such as raising the minimum wage to address “income inequality”, expanding bike lanes as a form of “economic development”, and encouraging the implementation of President Obama’s un-“Affordable Care Act.”
The letter from the north Texas mayors reads in part:
“We believe in limited government principles and would prefer a much smaller federal government that does not wastefully consume vast amounts of our tax dollars on programs and policies which extend the reach of agency bureaucrats into the lives, businesses and liberties of the people we represent. Put simply, we would prefer the federal government did less, cost less and interfered less with the people of our cities ‐ we don’t mind saying so to our Mayoral colleagues. Unfortunately, we are in the minority when it comes to the policy preferences of most medium to large city Mayors. For them, support of big federal government programs and intervention is not a surrender ‐ it is what they already believe.”
Irving’s Mayor, Beth Van Duyne, has been fighting back against reckless policy since she was originally elected to the city council in 2004. She is one of the mayors who is trying to bring commonsense reforms to municipal governance by working to limit the size and scope of city activities, questioning the merits of city expenditures and working to return excess tax revenue to taxpayers. She’s also championed ethics reform to strengthen taxpayer safeguards.
Her actions, and those of the other reform-minded mayors, couldn’t come at a better time.
Local governments hold 81% of all outstanding state and local debt in the Lone Star State, which currently stands at $328 billion, or $12,500 per person. To put those figures into context, Texas currently has the second highest, per capita local debt in the nation.
If we fail to engage locally, we are choosing not to participate in significant sectors of our governing institutions. We are also allowing liberal-leaning local officials to push for policies that are in conflict with what most Texans value. But in order to hold our local officials accountable, we first need to know who they are and what they really believe.
Here are the Texas mayors standing against the radical USCM agenda:
Todd Meier, Addison
Robert Cluck, Arlington
Matthew Marchant, Carrollton
Karen Hunt, Coppell
Betsy Price, Fort Worth
Maher Maso, Frisco
Douglas Athlas, Garland
Beth Van Duyne, Irving
Brian Loughmiller, McKinney
Laura Maczka, Richardson
John Terrell, Southlake