Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Incoherent Abbott makes good local government accountability proposal (how he plans to pass it is anyone's guess)

"But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God."
Nehemiah 5:15

We'll start with the good news:
Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday unveiled a plan to "rein in skyrocketing property taxes" in Texas, looking to lay down a marker in a debate that dominated the legislative sessions last year and promises to remain front and center through the 2018 primaries and beyond.

"Under the plan I am announcing today, Texas will take action to limit property tax growth, secure private property rights and ensure that Texas remains the most exceptional state in the nation," Abbott, a Republican who is running for re-election this year, said in a statement as he embarked on a tour of the state — with stops planned here and in Arlington — to promote the plan.

A key tenet of Abbott’s proposal is to prevent cities, counties and school districts from collecting more than 2.5 percent in property tax revenue than they did in a previous year without voter approval. That’s a far lower cap than controversial thresholds that twice failed to make it through the Legislature last year. And his plan would require that two-thirds of voters — well beyond a simple majority — approve any increase above that 2.5 percent threshold.

But Abbott’s plan also offers local leaders something last year’s property tax overhauls didn’t. The state would no longer be able to saddle local governments with providing new services without providing state funding to cover the costs, he said. And when it comes to funding public education — which makes up the majority of local property tax bills — Texas lawmakers would likely be required to put up more state funds under Abbott’s proposal.


Another provision in the proposal would also require local governments to be more transparent about the debt they carry when asking voters to approve new bond packages. And it would also require a supermajority of voters to approve additional debt.
This is good.  The unrestricted growth of government at the local level is the number 1 long term economic threat to Texas.  And Abbott's proposal today goes further to address the issue than anything we saw during either the regular or the special session of the 85.

But let's not kid ourselves: It's hard to see how this proposal goes anywhere as long as Dennis Bonnen and Drew Darby remain in the house, and Greg Abbott has endorsed both Dennis Bonnen and (*yack*) Drew Darby.

So there you go: Abbott's making good proposals, but he's not doing the legwork necessary to give himself a legislature that will be receptive to said proposals.

Bottom Line: The Abbott campaign loves to run stupid hashtag campaigns asking people to pledge "hashtagI'mwithAbbott."  But we often find ourselves wondering whether or not Abbott is truly with Abbott.  Today's announcement was a textbook example why.

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