The Houston City Council deserves a nod for taking a stand for taxpayers yesterday:
In what could be the first of future trends, shock waves were sent yesterday when the Houston City Council failed to pass a resolution renewing its membership in the Texas Municipal League, a lobbying group that has fought property tax appraisal caps. At issue was whether to pay $68,000 in dues to the Texas Municipal League, which represents the collective concerns of cities such as Houston before the Legislature & Congress. “This week, the Texas Municipal League was sent a strong message — don’t mess with Texas taxpayers,” said Americans for Prosperity-Texas director Peggy Venable. . . . . The Houston City Council was prepared to deny Mayor White’s request to spend almost $70,000 to pay dues to the organization. Once the probable outcome became clear during debate, the Mayor decided to not ask for a vote, instead saying he would use private money to pay the city’s TML membership dues. . . . . The Texas Municipal League has actively lobbied against the capping of property appraisals and worked against taxpayer protection legislation, similar to a “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” sponsored by Rep Carl Isett (R-Lubbock) during the last Texas legislative session. . . . . Last year, Houston voters approved a city “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” to limit city spending to population increases and inflation, with taxpayer approval required for spending above that cap. Mayor Bill White worked to thwart the will of Houston voters by challenging that vote in the courts, using tax dollars to fight against the voters.