Tuesday, February 7, 2017
If Texas is serious about Sanctuary Cities....
"So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands."
Today, the Texas Senate will debate (and likely approve) the sanctuary cities bill. As irritated as we find ourselves with the symbiotic grandstanding of both Governor FoxNews and the Star Wars bar scene of Travis County Democrats, this bill (at least in it's current form) does represent a modest step forward from the status quo. But color us unsurprised if, in a year, we discover it was more sound and fury than substance.
But there's another, much simpler, way to hold local governments' feet to the fire.
Later this session, the legislature will discuss restructuring the property tax system. The biggest policy change will likely be alterations in the "rollback" rate. "Rollback" rate refers to the point past which cities and counties have to seek voter approval to raise property taxes.
Imagine the following amendment on the property tax bill: "Any political subdivision that denies ICE detainers shall have their rollback rate set to zero."
In other words, all of their spending would be on the table...and it wouldn't require a drawn out court fight.
That would certainly get their attention far more than overwrought theatrics surrounding less than one quarter of one percent of Travis County's annual budget.
But why pass something simple, that will have secondary benefits to taxpayers, when you can engage in theatrics while creating full employment for lawyers on all sides?!?