The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM)-an organization that seeks to create stronger federal-city ties-today wrapped-up its 82nd annual conference in Dallas, Texas. Among the issues discussed at this year’s conference were:
- Addressing Income Inequality: Raising the Minimum Wage;
- Investing in Better Bicycling: An Economic Development Strategy to Keep Cities Moving;
- Horse Racing and American Cities: A Good Partnership;
- ACA Community Benefits and Food Systems: Opportunity to Improve Community Health;
- Building Support for Federal Action [on immigration]; and
- Towards a New Urban Order: Common Platforms and Common Standards for Cities.
It’s interesting to note that income inequality was a topic of serious discussion at a conference held in one of Dallas’ ritzier hotels-the Omni-where taxpayer-supported attendees paid a public sector rate of $199 per night, according to hotel staff.
Also of note was the group’s overwhelming support for several climate change resolutions that call for a massive expansion of the federal leviathan at the local level. One specifically called for the following:
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on the Administration and Congress to enact an Emergency Climate Protection law that provides a framework and funding for the implementation, in conjunction with state and local government and the private sector, of a comprehensive national plan to dramatically reduce GHG emissions to avoid catastrophic impacts of climate change on the planet, including full funding of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, incentives for the implementation of energy efficiency building standards, the development of more aggressive mileage efficiency standards, adoption of a national renewable portfolio standard, establishment of national GHG reduction goals; and creation of a Federal Climate Protection Board to oversee progress of meeting such goals; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Congress permanently extend renewable energy tax credits, particularly those for solar, wind and geothermal, among others; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on the EPA to provide flexibility in its development of CAA standards for existing utility generating facilities to reduce GHG emissions, allowing a variety of mechanisms such as participation in regional emission trading systems, investments in renewable energy technologies, adoption of renewable energy portfolio standards, implementation of energy conservation programs, and other GHG reduction strategies directed both at particular utility generating facilities (inside the fence) and programs beyond such facilities (outside the fence), provided that actual reductions in GHG emissions are achieved; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the nation’s mayors call on the Administration to give high priority to the pursuit of international agreements to address global climate change and GHG emission reductions. [emphasis mine]
Forgetting for a moment any scientific disputes surrounding climate change, it is difficult to imagine a sensible solution which involves granting more power and authority to federal bureaucrats at the expense of local control. If anything, history and experience have taught us that the best solutions originate from the ground-up, not from the top-down.
But mayors at the conference seemed to be of a different mindset. Not a single dissenting voice could be heard on the conference’s livestream when the group’s major climate change resolution passed by voice vote. Presumably, that group included all or some of the 34 Texas mayors who registered for the event.
And so, regrettably, it appears that many of Texas’ major metropolitan mayors have, by association, endorsed a proposal that favors surrendering local autonomy on the environment in exchange for greater federal planning and control. What’s more, the mayors’ approval of such a proposition comes on an issue that is still being debated in the scientific consensus.
For a complete list of Texas mayor attending the 82nd annual U.S. Conference of Mayors, see here.