State Sen. Dan Patrick and State Rep. Ken Paxton are wanting a formal review of the use of taxpayer money by the Texas Department of Transportation and other agencies on advertising. According to the Houston Chronicle, “the tally for advertising, publications and promotional items is easily close to $100 million or more in state and federal funds just for fiscal year 2008.”

Patrick, Paxton and their colleagues are asking Lt. Gov. Dewhurst (who heads the Senate) and House Speaker Craddick to assigns legislative committees the task of examining the issue. The issue came to light with revelations that TxDOT had engaged a media campaign to convince Texans to support the Trans-Texas Corridor and other policies.

Sen. Patrick is quoted in the Chronicle: “My concern is that Texas agencies, including TxDOT (the Texas Department of Transportation), have exceeded the proper role of state government and, potentially, their legal authority provided by state law.”

Even if they haven’t exceeded the law, the issue remains that tax dollars should be used to actually achieve the public good for which they were taken — in the case of TxDOT, building roads. Diverting money to advertising campaigns and media training efforts robs the public of the benefit we were expecting.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote that, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propigation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”


Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."