“Squandermaniacs” In San Antonio

December 12, 2006

A commission formed by Texas governor Rick Perry has recommended a proposal that would authorize Texas taxpayers to approve city and county budget increases that go beyond 5% or the consumer price index plus population growth – a procedure known as a “rollback election”.

Roddy Stinson has an entertaining op-ed in this morning’s San Antonio Express-News explaining that this level-headed approach has apparently ruffled feathers at the powerful Texas Municipal League:

On its Web site, the league advertises itself as “a private, nonprofit association that exists solely to provide services to Texas cities” through “legislative, legal and educational efforts” that “serve the needs and advocate the interests of members.”

Yard Dog translation:

“A private, nonprofit organization that does the bidding of municipal politicians regardless of whether those politicians have the best interests of taxpayers in their tax-and-spend hearts, souls, minds and gizzards.”

In this particular battle on behalf of city squandermaniacs, the municipal leaguers conducted a brainstorming session in their Babylon on the Colorado headquarters and came up with these six “reasons” to oppose “mandatory rollback elections”:

1. “Mandatory elections are expensive.”

2. “Mandatory rollback elections aren’t held during municipal elections.”

3. “Mandatory rollback elections will require that two budgets be developed.”

4. “Cities are at a disadvantage in the election sound-bite game.”

5. “All cities already have tax referendum elections — they’re called city council elections.”

6. “The more necessary a tax increase is, the more pointless an election will be.”

I kid you not.

(I would not, could not make this stuff up.)

You don’t have to Roddy. We believe you. Tragically, this isn’t the first time politically powerful groups attempted to block the efforts of taxpayers to have a say in how much they are taxed and where it should go.

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