It seems some legislators need to be reminded who Texas Municipal League and Texas Association of Counties really are. These aren’t simply groups of local elected officials banding together to represent their constituents in Austin—these are organizations of grow-government apologists with the sole purpose of using tax dollars to lobby for higher taxes.
Texas Municipal League and the Texas Association of Counties have been steadfastly opposed to conservative efforts to limit the growth of government—specifically in terms of capping the rate of property taxes and appraisal values. They do so by hiring lobbyists with your tax dollars, like former anti-taxpayer State Rep. Fred Hill.
Texas Municipal League has consistently been an advocate for bigger government, best described as a “private, nonprofit organization that does the bidding of municipal politicians regardless of whether those politicians have the best interests of taxpayers in their tax-and-spend hearts, souls, minds and gizzards.” TML is steadfastly opposed to property tax and appraisal caps.
So is Texas Association of Counties, a similar tax-funded group pushing for more government. It was at a 2009 TAC conference where former Straus-appointed House Ways and Means Chairman Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville) bragged about killing appraisal caps.
Interestingly enough, TAC lobbyist Fred Hill reported Speaker Straus himself showed up to that very same conference, telling the tax hike-friendly audience, “You have a friend in the Speaker’s Office” when it comes to that issue.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Tommy Williams, on the other hand, has authored several bills in an attempt to pass appraisal caps. He did so in 2005, and as recently as 2011. TAC fought vigorously to defeat each of these, which they opposed on the grounds that it “would cost taxpayers more in the long run.” Such backwards logic only starts to make sense when you’re paid to take such a position.
Given how much these groups want to see local spending increase, it should come as no surprise they oppose the Texas Open Meetings Act – a provision of Texas law that allows citizens to monitor the work of their elected officials.
Even news outlets like the Tyler Morning Telegraph thought that was going too far.
Higher taxes, more spending, less transparency … that’s the hallmark of TML/TAC. Republicans returning to the legislature next session would be wise to take note.