Local governments are using your own money against you, hiring lobbyists and advocating for more government according to new research from the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “Breach of Faith: How Local Governments Are Using Your Tax Dollars Against You” reveals how cities, counties, school districts, and special districts spent almost $75 million in 2021 on contract lobbyists whose purpose was to advocate against conservative legislation and for pro-government proposals at the Texas Capitol. This practice not only perpetuates big government but also impinges upon Texans’ constitutional right to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

“Today, Texans may not fully exercise their First Amendment right to petition their policymakers because local governments are flooding the statehouse with contract lobbyists paid for with our tax dollars. These lobbyists interfere with the average person’s ability to get their issues resolved. Worse, they oftentimes argue against the interests of everyday people and for pro-government causes,” said James Quintero, policy director for TPPF’s Government for the People initiative. “This session, it’s critical that lawmakers ban local governments from using tax dollars to hire contract lobbyists. There is no rhyme or reason that governments should be spending public money to grow government.”

Key Points

  • The right to petition is a constitutional right that ensures elected representatives hear from more than a select few supporters or special interests. It is intended to empower citizens, not the government.
  • Governments do not have rights. Governments have powers. Only people have rights.
  • Despite the constitutional order, Texas local governments frequently hire registered lobbyists to advocate for their causes at the statehouse. This practice promotes bad policy and frustrates people’s free exercise.
  • In 2021, local governments spent as much as $75 million on external lobbying activities.

To read the full research, please click here.