Conroe, April 21 – The Montgomery County government’s budget includes annual dues of $2,440 to Texas Association of Counties (TAC), an anti-citizen, pro-taxation, pro-government-spending lobbying and special interest group that is vociferously fighting against Senate Bill 2, Senator Paul Bettencourt’s (R-Houston) proposed legislation which would limit property tax increases and enact reforms of local appraisal districts. As Montgomery County’s Appraisal District is one of the most aggressive taxing mechanisms in the entire State of Texas – under the leadership of liberal, pro-taxation Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador, former Precinct 3 County Commissioner Ed Chance, and “establishment” confidantes Bruce Tough and Tom Cox – for the Montgomery County government to funnel tax dollars into the anti-citizen TAC is a slap in the citizens’ face.
TAC is an Austin-based ultra-liberal organization. It has a somewhat informative website, although its presentation of county official responsibilities is confusing.
The real trick to TAC is that it’s primarily an “advocacy” organization which advocates for bigger government spending and “protections” of County government from nasty sources of interference such as local citizens. TAC wants everyone to “Trust your county to be a committed and dependable partner.” With whom your county is a “partner” is not clear, although it’s probably a “partner” with your tax dollars.
During the 85th Legislative Session, TAC’s large lobbying team has taken the following positions:
- Strong opposition to Senate Bill 2, the comprehensive property tax reform and appraisal district reform bill, which Bettencourt and others passed in the Senate but are finding has strong opposition from the more liberal Texas House of Representatives.
- Strong support of legislation that will make it easier for county governments to engage in eminent domain, also known as government takings of private property.
- Opposition to certain County jail reform proposals.
- Strong support for more state government spending on health programs.
- Opposition to revenue cap bills, as TAC and its members don’t want any limitations on the ability of county governments to increase local government spending and taxation.
- Claiming that making it easier for citizens to obtain tax refunds would “create a budgeting problem for counties,” so TAC opposes Senator and former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt’s proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1847, which would aid in that process.
- Opposition to Representative Cecil Bell, Jr.’s (R-Magnolia) bill, House Bill 3170, relating to protection of rights of a property owner in eminent domain proceedings.
- Oppositions on any limitations upon the amount of debt county governments may incur.
- Opposition to legislation to require more local government openness and transparency.
The Montgomery County government should not force taxpayers to fund such a terrible organization. If individual members of the County Commissioners Court or other elected officials choose to spend their own money to join TAC, that is most certainly their right. Nevertheless, with Montgomery County spending as completely out-of-control as it is, Doyal, Riley, and their colleagues should not force expenditures in support of the pro-taxation and pro-government-spending advocacy of TAC on Montgomery County taxpayers.