In a Twitter post late Saturday evening, Gov. Greg Abbott came out swinging against tax-funded lobbying, the practice in which local governments use taxpayers’ own dollars to lobby legislators, often against pro-taxpayer policies.
Get this. Cities & counties use your tax dollars ($200,000) to hire lobbyists to work against lowering your property taxes. They use your money to influence lawmakers to take more of your money. Help me stop this. | Local News | https://t.co/l8XPdn7W1C https://t.co/ATV7q2QYXs
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) December 16, 2018
Prompting the tweet was a report that the City of Tyler has made plans to spend $200,000 on lobbyists during the upcoming legislative session.
Local governments in Texas will spend millions this session to lobby against property tax reform and relief. In fact, in 2015, 42 percent of registered lobbyists in Texas represented cities and counties, and there are no signs of that number slowing down.
In addition to fighting against tax relief, tax-funded lobbyists will also defend involuntary annexation and red-light cameras, all while opposing ballot transparency and bond reform.
Legislation to end the practice had been filed in recent sessions by State Sen. Konni Burton (R–Colleyville) and State Rep. Matt Shaheen (R–Plano). Burton, however, will not be returning to the Texas Senate in January, opening the opportunity for a new senator to join Abbott in championing the issue.
Considering the widespread political impact of this practice and the abject lack of transparency or accountability throughout, it is time for lawmakers to stand up and bring meaningful reform to this part of the legislative process.