Too often state legislators are reticent to speak out on local issues, fearful of upsetting constituents or creating future electoral adversaries. Fortunately for San Antonio taxpayers, State Rep. Lyle Larson is coming out swinging against a Democrat proposal to expand city government.
Several weeks ago Dustin Matocha wrote about San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s plan to create a new layer of educational bureaucracy. Under his plan, the city would start offering it’s own pre-kindergarten classes, in addition to the programs already offered by the local school districts.
To fund his proposal, Castro – of course – wants to raise taxes. As you know, Texas operates under the myth of “non-partisan” municipal and school elections. That’s a joke; they are no more non-partisan than any other elected official. Mayor Castro is a liberal’s liberal and will be a featured speaker at the Democratic National Convention.
Standing in the way of Mr. Castro’s duplicative, high-cost, low-return government expansion is the pesky inconvenience of an election. (He apparently hasn’t figured out how to bypass voters in the Alamo City yet, like the Dems in Travis County are wanting to do.)
In steps Mr. Larson, who this week co-signed a letter with County Commissioner Kevin Wolff. The men called on the Mayor to first hold an election to amend San Antonio’s charter to allow city tax dollars to be spent creating what will, in essence, become at best new (if limited) school district, and at worst a hideously expensive babysitting service.
They reasonably write:
It is our belief that the existing Pre-K programs offered by public school districts and delegate agencies are worthwhile and under-utilized. Availability is less the problem than is parental failure to take advantage of existing programs and to get their children to the schools and agencies offering the programs. …
… The City of San Antonio enjoys the distinction of being an extremely well-run city that operates below the state-mandated sales tax cap of 8.25 percent. In a time of economic uncertainty, it is not wise to raise taxes, no matter how small the increase. To implement your plan, the city would effectively create a Department of Education, another bureaucracy, duplicating an existing system.
As one might expect, Mayor Castro responded that he doesn’t need voter permission to expand the role of city government.
Voters should not only reject Julian Castro’s ill-considered plan, but consider replacing him at the soonest opportunity.