Monday, April 30, 2007

Disingenuous Senator Watson?

In a blast e-mail to constituents today, Senator Kirk Watson (D-Travis County 14) wrote about his newly Senate-approved bill SB 1688:

“If voters approve it -- and only if voters approve it -- Austin would be able to do zoning and land-use planning in the district with heavy input from residents and landowners.”

Which, if true, would be nice.

Apparently, it’s not true. Sen. Watson’s bill as currently posted on the Texas Legislature's official website, allows the Austin City Council to create a new taxing authority outside the City limits. (See section 432.053) No voters, inside Austin or inside the taxing authority boundaries, get to vote on the creation of the district at any time.

Taxation. Representation. No linkage.

The Senator has improved the bill since its introduction. Previously, people in the district didn’t get to vote for or against their taxing overlords even after the creation of the district, and now they will get to vote for city council, and in some other city elections, AFTER the creation of the district (in which they have no say).

Also, City of Austin voters don’t get to vote. And if you think that this new district won’t cost the City anything, I’ve got (as the country song goes) some ocean-front property in Arizona, and if you’ll buy that, I’ll throw the Brooklyn Bridge in, free.

So—to recap—Watson’s bill would create a taxing district without allowing any voter input, and he (or someone in his office claiming to speak for him) appears to be misrepresenting the bill.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

very interesting, thanks

9:26 PM  

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