Local Control

May 9, 2017

By Rep. Paul Workman

Margaret Thatcher once famously quipped that the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.

Austin is fast approaching this condition.

The mayor and city council have mandated to private businesses in and out of Austin how they need to hire ex-offenders. They are spending $200,000 of taxpayer money to help illegal aliens stay in Austin while driving citizens out by curtailing development. They have told private property owners that if they want a development permit more quickly, they must get sign-off from a union front organization. To be “green,” the mayor and council signed a 30-year contract for solar power at almost twice the rate at which electricity can be purchased, costs be damned.

These, along with many other socialist-type ordinances and regulations drive up the cost of living in Texas, compelling me to file a number of bills aimed at reining in the city’s overreaches. After all, Austin exists because of a state-issued charter. The state has an obligation to ensure laws enacted by state-chartered cities do not have negative effects on their citizens or the state.

The state has a duty to step in based on the following principles: when an ordinance of one jurisdiction conflicts with an ordinance from another municipality(s); when ordinances from one jurisdiction affect citizens of another jurisdiction; when ordinances threaten the economic health of our state; and when ordinances infringe on the personal liberties of its citizens. These and other City of Austin ordinances fit more than one of these principles.

Personal liberties and economic health are vital to making our communities great places to live, work and raise a family. In these limited occasions, state action will help encourage city councils to protect the rights of its citizens, not remove them.

Rep. Paul Workman represents House District 47 which includes western and southern Travis County, including about 40% City of Austin constituents.

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