Monday, July 30, 2018

#TXLEGE, #atxcouncil: "Equity Office" DEBACLE illustrates need for municipal Revenue/Spending Caps

"The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger."
Ezekiel 22:29

We assume you've heard:
The Equity Office is recommending the city remove or change the names of streets, parks and markers in Austin that honor the Confederate States of America and slavery.

The office also suggests eschewing the name “Austin” altogether, as Stephen F. Austin fought to defend slavery in the Texas Revolution and supported the institution after the state gained its independence from Mexico.
There's a lot we could say, but it reflects one reality: This is what happens when the government has too much money.

The name change aspect of this current controversy attracted national attention, but obscure government bureaucracies do nonsense like this all the time.  The only difference is that this specific example was easily mockable.  But this is what obscure bureaucracies do.

To purge these bureaucracies, force their parent body to set financial priorities.  We've sat through enough C of A budget discussions to know that a spending/revenue cap with teeth will kill many birds with a single stone.  That remains the case.

Furthermore, this author is old enough that we actually remember when the city created the so-called "Equity office."  That happened all the way back in an ancient era known as...2016.  Back then, the department was supposed to:
[Identify] gaps and disparities in services and programs in the city, as well as help create ways for city departments to address those needs. The position will also help community groups work with the city to ensure equal access to city programs and services.
Notice it doesn't say anything about renaming streets (or, good grief, the entire city).  So we're less than two years into the life of the so-called "Equity office" and we're already seeing mission creep.  Once again, this is what the government does when it has too much money.

There have been numerous proposals in recent years to provide greater supervision of local fiscal policy.  Some have focused on the spending side, some have focused on the tax side.  In this context, anything the legislature passes that forces municipal governments to set financial priorities is welcome.

Bottom Line:  If you want to change behavior, cut off the money.

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