Part-Timers Gone, County Government Stands Strong


TAC Executive Director Gene Terry

The noise has ended in the State Capitol. The dust has settled after regular and special sessions. A warm breeze has blown the part-timers out of town. And now, more than a year after the Senate Finance Committee began its traveling dog and pony show promoting its version of “property tax relief,” we are still here. We are still the same, reliable county government we were a year ago, 

10 years ago and for more than a century.

Don’t forget. You remain the only full-time, paid professional government in Texas and you’re doing important work that matters to Texans. Your constituents can see you in the courthouse performing the very job you were elected to do. They get real value for their tax dollars. You do so much with so little. Nothing is broken. Nothing needs fixing. Your work and your service to the public continued, daily; some would say 24/7. Don’t let the contentiousness of the last several months distract you from these truths.

The noise in the Capitol was never about property taxes. No bill introduced in either the regular or the special session offered any tax reduction. Not one. The noise was about who makes decisions. Some legislative leaders sincerely believe they should determine what’s best for counties and cities. 

Really? The same people who rant about interference from Washington want to impose their version of centralized government on you? It’s true. They need to read the Texas Constitution. They need a history lesson. Texans don’t tolerate centralized authority. We want local decision-makers. Your voters see you in the grocery store, beauty shop and cafe. They can tell you what they like or don’t like daily, and they do. Nobody is in a better position to make local decisions than locally elected officials. 

Unlike the amateur part-timers, you don’t work for just 140 days every two years. You never adjourn. You live to serve every day. And you continue to do so. You will be here in a couple of years when they show up again to make noise and stomp around accomplishing very little. Do they really expect reasonable Texans to turn over the control of local government to them? 

The only real obligation the state has locally is to pony up its part of the cost of public education. But it hasn’t met that obligation for more than 20 years. In fact, the state contributes less and less to public education each year. I say to the Legislature, do YOUR job and allow us to do that which we are statutorily and constitutionally obligated to do. 

And I say to you, regardless of the political games played, you’re still here. Your work and your service matters more than ever to your neighbors and to Texas. Thank you. 


 Feature Stories


 News & Columns