Republican State Rep. Ellen Troxclair of Spicewood has filed legislation in the Texas House to prohibit public funds from being used to hire registered lobbyists.
If the Legislature bans the practice, school districts and cities will be barred from spending taxpayer money on their own interests.
In 2020, more than 94 percent of Republican voters supported a ballot proposition banning taxpayer-funded lobbying.
The two most cited examples of institutions engaging in taxpayer-funded lobbying in recent years are the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) and the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA). TASB and TASA are taxpayer-funded through dues from local school districts (which, in turn, levy property taxes). TASB and TASA employ Austin lobbyists to fight against taxpayer interests and parental rights.
Although banning taxpayer-funded lobbying is a longtime conservative priority and was a legislative priority for the Texas GOP in the 2021 legislative session, the Texas House killed the legislation after the Texas Senate passed it.
In the 87th Legislative Session—despite multiple pieces of potential legislation to ban taxpayer-funded lobbying—State Rep. Chris Paddie (R–Marshall) delayed the only committee-approved bill beyond key deadlines.
Paddie rewrote the bill in committee to only ban the practice at the local level. He then delayed its House reading to Middleton’s birthday (September 18) as a jab at Middleton, who supported the statewide ban. The bill died a slow death, ultimately killed by the end of the session on May 31.
In the three special sessions that followed, Gov. Greg Abbott refused to add banning taxpayer-funded lobbying to his list of priorities, despite Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s request.
Patrick, who serves as president of the Senate, has pledged to pass the ban on taxpayer-funded lobbying in the Senate during the ongoing 88th Legislative Session.
“For too long, your hard-earned tax dollars have been diverted to the pockets of Austin lobbyists that then lobby against both parents and taxpayers,” said Middleton. “Taxpayers should not be bankrolling efforts to advocate against their interests.”
“Texas families have been forced to fund escalating attacks on conservative priorities at the legislature, and that stops this session,” agreed Troxclair. “At a time when Texans are struggling with the burden of rising property taxes, it is an incredible insult to have their money used in such a wasteful manner. What’s worse, this money is used to hire lobbyists who are working against the interests of those same Texans — opposing constitutional rights, property tax reforms, and government accountability measures.”
“Heavily utilized by larger, liberal cities, this spending is not only lavish, it’s also creating an uneven playing field for smaller communities here at the Capitol,” said Troxclair.
When the City of Austin spends $1M per year on contract lobbyists to support their woke agenda, clog committee hearings, wine and dine legislators, and kill conservative bills, it becomes harder for the priorities of rural communities and everyday Texans to get through the process.
Additionally, taxpayer-funded lobbyists are opposing parents regarding children’s education.
“When it comes to education policy, parents’ voices have been out-shouted by paid lobbyists opposing them on issues like parent empowerment in schools and critical race theory in curriculum,” said Troxclair. “Vital public funds have been diverted from our Main Streets and into the wallets of those working against property tax relief, closing the border, and bond transparency.”
Concerned citizens may contact their elected representatives to ask how they will vote on such legislation.