Thursday, March 21, 2013

Empower Texans: Moderates Mobilize to Keep Taxpayers in the Dark

Empower Texans reports on a depressing series of events in the Texas House:
A pattern is emerging in the Texas House: moderate Republicans seem to be setting their sights on killing commonsense transparency measures during the committee process before they have a chance to see the light of day on the floor. They’re being joined by school districts and local taxing entities trying to keep taxpayers in the dark.


HB 14 would bring local government code into the 21st century by requiring this information be put online in a searchable format. That’s great for taxpayers who live in a digital age where information is just a quick Google search away. That’s not so great for local cities, counties, school boards, and other districts that seek to put taxpayers on the hook for more debt in order to fund massive spending projects
Enter yesterday’s Appropriations subcommittee meeting:

Representatives Bennett Ratliff (R – Coppell) and Drew Darby (R – San Angelo) took turns attacking the premise that taxpayers should have easier access to information already made available to them upon request.

Their justification?!?

Taxpayers should attend city council and school board meetings when this information is discussed, so taxpayers don’t get confused by potentially misleading information.
In other words, taxpayers are too dumb to figure out if more debt and more spending is appropriate. They should have that information sanitized by local officials and bureaucrats before making a decision.


Are these conspicuous attacks by moderates in the House an attempt to kill these transparency measures before they have a chance to see the light of day? It sure seems like it.
This cannot stand.  Transparency is a big ticket item for the 83rd Texas Legislature.  Contact your legislators here.

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