WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A Texas Senate bill that would put an end to taxpayer-funded lobbying is facing opposition over concern the law would limit access to state lawmakers.
According to County Judge Woody Gossom, it would cut off a primary line of communication those officials and lawmakers have to communicate information about proposed legislation and other items vital to a government function.
“We pay dues into the Texas Association of Counties that develops all kinds of programs and things for us. They cannot buy lobby lobbyists but they do gather information for county officials about legislative actions that are either good or may have some adverse effects on local government,” Gossom said.
That’s why Judge Gossom said he opposes Senate Bill 10, a measure that would end taxpayer-funded lobbying across texas.
“Tt’s better to have this well-put-together staff in Austin that does all kinds of things. Does our education programs. Brings insurance programs. Brings all kinds of services to us that we’d pay a lot more out in the private sector for most likely,” Gossom said.
But Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is calling on Governor Greg Abbott to call a special session in order to pass the bill.
“Over 80 percent of Democrats, don’t believe in taxpayer-funded lobbying. They don’t want tax dollars used to hire lobbyists to lobby against their interests back in their communities. So taxpayer-funded lobbying? Broad support across the board,” Patrick said.
A posture that comes as no surprise to Judge Gossom.
“This started actually last session where we really pushed against some things in Senate Bill 2 which was a pet finance bill budget of the Governors. He has a sidekick. Senator Bettencourt out of Fort Bend County. They came up with this idea where that would curb local governing more,” Gossom said.
But an idea that could impact all local officials.
“I can’t go down as a county official and go in and talk about property taxes. That’s the biggest thing important to everybody. Is forbidding me to stop to our state legislature about that? That’s childish,” Gossom said.
More fuel for the fire, as lawmakers set their eyes on a growing special legislative agenda.
Governor Abbott has indicated his willingness to call the legislature back for a special session but has not made any formal announcement