Thursday, April 5, 2007

Taxpayers 1, Texas Association of Counties 0

Harris County has voted to withdraw its membership in the Texas Assocation of Counties.

This is big, big news on the taxpayer-funded lobbying front.

Lone Star Times writes:

Harris County was the largest member of TAC, so this is a huge rebuke and a victory in the property tax fight. TAC’s lobbying was also at odds with the County government, and was not serving our interests as voters. So Commissioner’s Court dumped them.

Peggy Venable of Americans for Prosperity started the ball rolling with her successful lawsuit against Williamson County earlier this year. She describes the Harris County move here:

“This is a major victory for the taxpayer, and we commend the Harris County Commissioners for acting in the taxpayers’ interest, not in the special interest of bigger government.”

“The Harris County Commissioners Court acted on behalf of the taxpayer in voting unanimously to pull out of the Texas Association of Counties,” said Venable. “We are calling on other counties to take that action and to put an end to taxpayers’ influencing a political agenda which is anti-taxpayer and pro-big government.”

“Taxpayers should not have to go to work every day to earn a living to take care of their families and pay their taxes, knowing that some of those tax dollars are going to lobby for higher taxes,” said Venable. “Today the Harris County Commissioners Court voted unanimously that they won’t subject their taxpayers to that abuse.”

An activist in Ellis County is calling on his county to follow suit.

Regardless of what county officials might say, this would be a great step if Ellis County would...sever its ties to this organization. At least just with the membership part, not the retirement system (unless lobbyists' money comes from the retirement investment accounts).

Another blogger gives the background:

A Williamson County judge has ruled that the Texas Association of Counties cannot organize lobbying campaigns funded by taxpayer dollars.

The decision, handed down by state District Judge Ken Anderson was the result of a lawsuit filed against Williamson County and the association by three members of the Americans for Prosperity of Texas. The suit claims that state law prohibits counties from using tax revenue to join organizations that lobby the Legislature.

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