It might not seem that newsworthy to the rest of the state, but an issue of taxation without representation is picking up lots of headlines in the Rio Grande Valley.
SB 978, authored by State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa and sponsored by State Representative Veronica Gonzales, dissolves the Hidalgo County Water Improvement District #3 and effectively gives the City of McAllen control of operations.
Currently the district receives 94% of its funding from McAllen taxpayers, but those same taxpayers are unable to vote for the water district’s five board members. Those same board members are also under scrutiny for potential conflicts of interest.
Kathleen McKinley writes:
Two board members sold land to the city. Land that the board REQUIRED them to purchase. In other words, the board members made money selling land to the city that the city was FORCED to purchase by the Water District board of which they are a part of.
This is a prime example of exactly what happens when the people are not able to hold the government accountable for its actions.
According to testimony from Virginia Townsend, the owner of the largest amount of land in the district, and supporter of SB978, she was not notified when elections were being held, and had never even voted for a board member.
Should the bill be signed, the City of McAllen would assume operations, allowing all voters inside the city to hold the government accountable through elections of PUB Trustees and City Commissioners.
The Young Conservatives of Texas have also announced their support of SB 978, as well as several groups in the McAllen area. No landowner in the district testified against or registered opposition to this bill.
If you live in McAllen or support SB 978, contact the Governor’s Office by clicking here.
Dustin Matocha is the Social Media Coordinator of Empower Texans / Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.
Connect with Dustin on Twitter.