March 3, 2017
Honorable Craig Doyal, County Judge
Honorable Mike Meador, Precinct 1 Commissioner
Honorable Phyllis Martin, County Auditor
Dear Judge Doyal, Commissioner Meador, and Ms. Martin,
Senator Phil Gramm predicted in 1996 during a speech in College Station that the United States would suffer a fiscal collapse if government spending increased at its 1990s pace at the local, state, and federal levels. Rather than showing some leadership, you’ve spurred the growth of the Montgomery County government by 428% since 2000, even though our population has only grown by 84% during that same time period. You have ignored Senator Gramm’s warning.
Two nights ago, our County Republican Executive Committee, composed of all of the Republican Precinct Chairs, voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling for significant reductions in County government spending, increases in law enforcement funding, and a 20% homestead exemption. You have ignored them.
In 2010, more than 94% of Montgomery County voters in the Republican Primary Election voted to set a ceiling of County government growth equal to the growth of the population and inflation. Since then, you’ve increased the County government budget by $54 million more than that ceiling. Our County government’s spending has exploded to $381 million during Fiscal Year 2017, and you’re threatening to cause spending to grow even more. You’ve ignored Montgomery County Republican voters.
In 2012, more than 94% of Texas voters in the Republican Primary election voted to set a ceiling for all government growth equal to the growth of the population and inflation. You’ve ignored all Republican voters as well.
The 2016, Republican Party of Texas Platform calls for the full homestead protections. The Republican Party of Texas Platform observed that “government spending is out of control…” The GOP Platform does, however, demand “zero-based budgeting all levels of government,” a requirement which several citizens have requested during the past eight months and which you have openly rejected. The Platform also demands “a policy of requiring public audits of each governmental department at least every three years.” You have ignored those GOP Platform Planks.
The 2016 Republican Party of Texas Platform holds that “tolls should come off the road when the debt is retired…We oppose the use of taxpayer money to subsidize, guarantee, prop-up, or bail out any toll projects, whether public or private.” You have supported the use of taxpayer funds to prop up your $100 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 “Decimation of Hope Highway” project in order to funnel our money into the pockets of your favorite political supporters. You have ignored the toll road provisions in the Republican Party Platform.
County Commissioners James Noack and Jim Clark have called for a five percent (5%) across-the-board spending cuts in the County government. Although I do not believe law enforcement departments should cut their budgets, and I do believe they deserve an increase in funding, you have ignored Noack’s and Clark’s calls entirely.
The Citizens Budget Committee is working diligently to reduce spending by $100 million in non-law-enforcement departments, increase funding of law enforcement, and effect significant financial reforms in the County Budget. You have ignored that work and the calls of citizens to support those efforts.
Instead, Judge Doyal has offended four hundred years of “enlightenment” political philosophy by attempting to characterize increases in government spending as “fiscal conservatism.”
You have ignored the citizens, the Republican Party Platform, the County GOP Executive Committee, two of your colleagues, Republican Primary voters in this community, Republican Primary voters statewide, basic political philosophy, and the wisdom of United States Senator Phil Gramm.
Now, you’ve made it clear that you intend to hold secret “Budget Review Committee” meetings even though citizen input, openness, and transparency is precisely what you and our County budget process so desperately need.
The opinions of Attorney General John Hill and Attorney General John Cornyn make clear that committees of a governmental body must follow the open meetings requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551 of the Texas Government Code. You must post notice of your meetings and set an agenda, publicly, before you meet. Since a quorum of your secret committee would be any two of you, I most certainly hope that none of the three of you will communicate in pairs of two or more about any matter pertaining to the County government’s budget outside of the open meetings which Chapter 551 of the Government Code requires.
As I indicated to you in an email previously, I request, as a member of the press and as a citizen of this community that you provide me with written notice before you conduct any Budget Review Committee meetings and before any two of you deliberate in any manner whatsoever on County government budget matters.
My appropriate contact information follows:
Eric Yollick, Private Citizen and Publisher of The Golden Hammer
Kindest personal regards.
cc: Honorable Brett Ligon, Montgomery County District Attorney