Commentary: Robert Coats
I am in favor of banning all taxpayer funded lobbying in the State of Texas.
Until state representatives in the Texas House and Senate start actually advocating for those they represent, instead of our current system which results in watered down moderation and shared committee leadership, we will have a system where conservative taxpayer reforms are only incremental at best with regards to property taxes being permanently lowered, as an example.
Water issues are even more complex than property taxes:
Some are decrying Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District board members Harry Hardman and Jon Bouche for their leadership in advocating to retain lobbyists to represent the interests of those they serve- the water consumers of this county.
The only reason that you do not have even higher water rates in Montgomery County, Texas is the LSGCD’s tireless efforts against the San Jacinto River Authority’s arbitrary projections saying we had much less water than is actually true.
Equally important in keeping your water rates down are the lawsuits brought against SJRA by two City of Conroe leaders. The lawsuits, started under former Conroe Mayor Webb Melder and expanded under Mayor Toby Powell, have resulted in victory after victory for those residing in Conroe.
These lawsuits must continue in a perhaps hyper inflationary environment.
You never quit when you are winning. Out of abundance of caution, good budget oversight and being proactive, we should all be thankful that these very Conservative gentlemen are not going to let SJRA or anyone else stop them in being consumer friendly.
SJRA has lawyers and lobbyists that make the $150,000 spent by Lone Star look very small by comparison.
SJRA has mostly unaccountable leadership that has use fees that often exceeds the real dollar amounts of consumer services provided.
This is unacceptable.
You need every tool in your arsenal to beat SJRA in the courtroom. Conroe is hearing rumors that they are wanting to drop their lawsuits against SJRA.
No matter how distasteful it is to have to continue lawsuits by the City of Conroe and to hire lobbyists to fight for LSGCD’s interests and the taxpayers against SJRA, it is both prudent and cost effective to do so.
I would recommend that both actions are warranted in the regulatory and legal environment that currently exists in Texas.
Polemic abstractions be damned for hyperbole and not considering the complexities of effectively disarming those you are trying to help- namely, the consumers of water in this county.
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