Texas lawmakers will soon decide whether to end the controversial practice of allowing government officials to use citizens’ money to hire often anti-citizen lobbyists.
On Monday, State Rep. Mayes Middleton (R–Wallisville) filed a proposed law banning taxpayer-funded lobbying, where government officials spend citizens’ cash on hiring lobbyists to influence state lawmakers—often toward legislative decisions that harm citizens.
“Despite the hardships facing hardworking Texans, our tax money is still being diverted into the pockets of Austin lobbyists—away from police, firefighters, roads, and teachers. Taxpayers are being forced to pay for lobbyists that advocate against the taxpayer and basic, good governance,” said Middleton in a press release.
According to Middleton, taxpayers have been forced to pay lobbyists who have in turn worked to thwart pro-taxpayer initiatives such as property tax relief, election integrity, disclosures of what bonds truly cost taxpayers, and the constitutional ban on a state income tax.
“We must end this inexcusable waste and abuse of taxpayers’ hard-earned money,” he added.
Banning “all forms” of taxpayer-funded lobbying is also a top legislative priority of the Republican Party of Texas. Additionally, Republican voters across the state voted overwhelmingly in the 2020 March primary election to condemn taxpayer-funded lobbying.
“Up to $41 million per year has been spent on taxpayer-funded lobbying, even though 91 percent of all Texans oppose the practice,” Middleton continued. “It’s time to defund this bureaucracy.”
The Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs will host an interim committee hearing on Tuesday about taxpayer-funded lobbying as well as abortion. The full state legislature will convene in January.