Cities, counties pay lobbyists to defeat taxpaying citizens

R.G. Ratcliffe has a story on municipalities lobbying against lower property taxes, which has been a big topic on KSEV-700 this legislative session.

Advocates for lower taxes say it is outrageous that associations representing cities and counties are paying lobbyists to fight legislation that would limit how much money local governments can raise from property taxes.

The four biggest groups in the fight are the Texas Municipal League, the Texas Association of Counties, the Texas Conference of Urban Counties and the Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association.

These groups are spending as much as $1.3 million on lobbying efforts this session.

So far, they have killed legislation to lower the cap on property appraisals. And they have strenuously fought against a measure to limit the growth of local government revenues from property taxes, saying it would cripple local government operations. That bill is up for House debate today.

"There is a worrisome conclusion that these groups are drowning out a citizens lobby in these types of firefights," said Harris County Tax Assessor/Collector Paul Bettencourt, referring to the local government associations as a "spending lobby."

I'm glad to see the Chronicle provide some space to this issue, although it would have been nice to see it sooner.

Now, if we can just convince the Chronicle to cover some of the numerous transportation bills that have been proposed in Austin. Some are especially galling.

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 04/21/05 10:24 AM | Print |

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