Re: “Naked City
,” March 7 [News]: The Austin Chronicle
got the correct bottom line regarding the Americans for Prosperity lawsuit against the Texas Association of Counties: TAC has a constitutional right to lobby the Legislature regarding county issues, so long as dues money from counties is not used to lobby. The case is over, without Peggy Venable, Texas director of AFP, getting what she sought – which was to cut off communication between counties and legislators.
AFP is an anti-government organization that seeks to cut government services by having the Legislature take away the authority of locally elected officials to make budget and taxation decisions, thereby doing away with local control in our representative system of democracy. Ms. Venable is a registered lobbyist herself, lobbying against government regulations, such as smoking bans in public places. However, Ms. Venable does not want counties to have the same rights as she and her corporate sponsors do.
When Ms. Venable once again lobbies the Legislature in 2009 to take away local control, TAC will be there, lobbying on the other side of the issue – and against unfunded mandates that force local taxpayers to pay for programs the state should pay for if the state deems them so important. Perhaps Ms. Venable would like to join TAC in lobbying against those costly unfunded mandates.