Texas’ new lieutenant governor has promised significant tax relief and reforms to the state’s property tax system, while the new governor wants to put a stop to burdensome regulations impeding property rights and economic development. While both men’s positions are politically popular, taxpayers will nonetheless be footing the bill to lobby against such reforms.
For years, taxing entities have used taxpayer funds to fight against taxpayer interests at the state capitol. It’s not just government employees and elected officials who will bill the taxpayers for travel to the state capitol, but lobby firms retained by those entities at high costs.
That doesn’t even begin to include the taxpayer dollars paid out to various boards – like the Texas Municipal League, Texas Association of Counties, Texas Association of School Boards, and others – that in return hire lobbyists.
(You’ll recall that House Speaker Joe Straus told lobbyists for government entities that he would block property tax reforms… and has done exactly that.)
These government entities don’t just hire lobbyists to stop good reforms, they also retain the services to pull more money from the state coffers.
The Austin American Statesman reported this weekend that the Travis County town of West Lake Hills hired the firm Focused Advocacy for $40,500 over the next several months to promote the city council’s interests – specifically mentioned were stopping the reforms championed by Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
That’s in addition to the $24,000 in tax money the council spent last November with the firm for the purpose of “helping the city secure funding to expand a section of Bee Cave Road.” While undoubtedly a noble effort, one has to think: such funding should come by way of all transportation projects rather than through “focused” lobbying.