For decades, Texans have complained to their legislators about the nonstop, ever increasing property taxes. For decades, Texans have been promised action yet when the property tax bill arrives, the amount due continues to increase.

Until taxpayer funded lobbying ends, this vicious cycle of ever increasing taxes will continue unchanged.

When the occasional tax relief bill is submitted to the legislature, your tax dollars go to work to pay lobbyist to oppose the very bill you asked for, to oppose the relief you so desperately need.

When legislative committees hold hearings on proposed legislation to curtail the ever increasing taxes, dozens upon dozens of tax payer funded lobbyist are there in defense of those government agencies including, cities, counties and school districts that have become infected with the disease of spending other people’s money. Their rhetoric varies from legislative session to session, however their goal is always the same, increasing taxes and spending for local governments.

Remember, those lobbyist are hired by school districts, counties, cities, special districts and associations of local government. Those lobbyists have lots of experience working with the legislature and often have public relations teams and polling data at their disposal. Many of those lobbyists also use your tax money to make campaign donations and other promises to your elected legislators

Meanwhile, homeowners are working to live their daily lives, keep a roof over their head and food on the table while being forced to pay confiscatory taxes advocated for by your locally elected officials and their tax payer funded lobbyist. Because you are not a property owner does not mean you are exempt from these taxes and tax abuse. Your landlord pays these very taxes and passes the cost to you in the form of increased rent.

To attend and testify before committee meetings where taxes and tax reform are being held, the property owner must take off work and travel at their own expense to Austin to combat the ever increasing taxes, debating the professional lobbyist, who are there on the tax payer dime. Small business owners find themselves in the same situation seeing double digit tax increases year after year and do not have the finances to pay someone to fight the lobbyist in their defense. Banning tax payer funded lobbying is the only way to level the playing field.

Many of those local government elected officials say this is an effort to silence them but this is far from the truth, they are free at anytime to visit the legislature and express their concerns without using tax dollars.

State agencies have been prohibited for decades from lobbying on state time or using state dollars. On their own time, using their own resources, they can contact their legislators just as you can. They just don’t get to use other people’s money to do so unlike local elected officials. Banning tax payer lobbying would simply apply to local government officials similar rules that our State government has to live by.

At the 2018 Republican Convention, the 9,500 plus county delegates listened to the concerns of Texas taxpayers. Passing by more than 95 percent were five legislative priorities, two of which call for tax reform and relief along with ending tax payer funded lobbying. One can not be fixed without fixing the other. It is time for our legislature to stand with the taxpayers and not tax funded lobbyist.

You will probably hear your local officials claim that if taxes are cut, public safety will have to be cut and not a word of that is true. First, let them take the millions of dollars spent on lobbying and transfer that money to public safety, followed by spending wisely like we as individuals have to do. Since we can not raise our wages the same as elected officials raise taxes, we have to learn how to live within our budget.

Call your state senator and your state house member and ask them for tax reform and an end to taxpayer funded lobbying. Your other option is to do nothing and prepare for ever increasing taxes. All it takes is a phone call or an email.

Terry Harper is a longtime Guadalupe County resident and lifelong conservative.

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