Local Government Matters: Pockets of Power
Local government matters, just like the title of the blog states. The title has dual meaning, actually. Events that take place within local government are 'matters' and those things are important, or they 'matter'. However, I can't stress enough how important keeping an eye on local taxing authorities are. I hope the information I've included will convince you and you'll be converted for LIFE! Well, anyway, here goes!!
We've all been so focused on Washington, D.C., that we haven't paid attention to our local municipalities and how much debt THEY are incurring. Tell you what, I'll let you in on something that will (or should) get your attention: Texas has the second highest per capita local debt in the nation! We are only second to the state of New York in local debt!
There are taxing authorities that no one talks about or knows about; Management Districts, cities, MUD Districts, ESD's, and all of the ISD's. In and around Harris County and the City of Houston, there are things called TIRZ's that fall under the management district category. They can all issue bonds and debt, some of them without even putting it on a ballot for public approval! Now, we can't just eliminate these entities, but we can certainly influence the elections of these tiny towns and pockets of power.
You may not be aware, but May 6th is Election Day for lots of the aforementioned taxing authorities. Yes, you read that correctly. So if you live in any of the smaller cities in and around Harris County, you may just be electing a new Mayor or new city council members or voting to change your city charter. These are the elections where you can make the most difference!!
The Harris County Republican Party is working to empower the grassroots to make a difference during this election cycle. The party is hosting phone banks all over the county in order to increase voter turnout in what are ultimately some of the lowest turnout elections. You can visit www.harriscountygop.com to find out dates and times of upcoming phone banks.
So, how do you know if you have an election to vote in? Good news! I've asked our very own Harris County Clerk, Stan Stanart. He reports that, "(Harris County)...is conducting only eight of the sixty two entities holding elections this May. Harrisvotes.org has been programmed to tell a voter, when they look themselves up, if they are eligible to vote in an election and we provide links and/or phone numbers to the other fifty-four of the sixty-two that we are not conducting." So, if you're not sure if you have an election to vote in, please go and visit harrisvotes.org.
On a side note, I once personally surveyed 100 people and only four out of those 100 had ever voted in an Emergency Services District election before. So four percent of the people in that room could have decided the election. So, you see now, I hope, the importance of showing up to elect people to what I now refer to as pockets of power. Government really does go to those that show up!