By Wayne Caswell, Vice Chairman, Alliance of Progressive Voters
The GOP-controlled Texas Legislature has been attacking local control with the same fierceness that once was reserved for criminals, and Governor Greg Abbott has been leading a national trend that must stop. He even suggests that states should ban cities from having regulatory powers at all.
Abbott apparently believes in The Goldilocks Rule: “Federal control is big and bad. Local control is bad. State control is just right.” It’s all about power.
According to the Houston Chronicle, he wants lawmakers to “set spending caps on local governments, reform property taxes in a way that could force budget cuts, and limit the ability of cities to control annexation, tree-cutting, texting while driving, [ride-sharing services, business regulation, plastic grocery bags,] construction permits, bathroom access, even the collection of union dues in government paychecks.”
Over a dozen other states with Republican control have joined in this attack with limits on minimum wage rates, local gun controls, multibillion-dollar transportation projects, and even issues such as allowing the resettlement of Syrian refugees.
State officials point to regulatory uniformity, but political scientists insist that party politics is a factor, because cities are more liberal at heart. That’s why Ramona Thompson picked Local Control as one of the top issues of her campaign.