TEXAS MONTHLY – Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick dropped the façade Friday. It turns out that the Texas Republican leadership’s war on cities is not just about local taxes, anti-discrimination policies, or sanctuary cities.
These policy battles are a partisan fight to erase the last bastion of Democratic control—the big cities of Texas.
On Varney & Co., a week-day talk show on the Fox Business Network, Patrick touted the national gains Republicans made in state legislatures and governor’s offices during the Obama administration.
“During Obama’s reign, almost a thousand Democrats were defeated running for the local state Houses and state Senate and governors and lieutenant governors. In fact, out of the 45 lieutenant governors, which I am one of, of course, 32 are Republicans,” Patrick said. “We own the turf state by state, and Texas leads the way. We set the conservative example that other states follow.”
Then, answering an unrelated question from host Stuart Varney, Patrick casted the policy debates between the states and the cities as a partisan fight between Republicans and Democrats.
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In a recent interview with the Rio Grande Guardian, Shanna Igo, deputy executive director for legislative services at the Texas Municipal League, said she believed the “attack on cities” was politically motivated. Igo visited the Valley last week to brief local mayors and city managers about the special legislative session currently underway in Austin.
Igo said she doesn’t know Governor Greg Abbott’s motives behind these bills, but suggested there’s a national trend on ‘micromanaging’ liberal cities in Republican states.
“We don’t know why the governor has decided to micromanage cities,” Igo said. “We do note there’s a national trend that other states seem to be doing some of the same things that they’re micromanaging cities and some of it is because they see the cities as Democrats. Because in the large cities you have a lot of Democrat mayors and the Republicans are now in charge and they are targeting cities because of those Democrat mayors.”
Igo said Gov. Abbott’s actions will also affect Republican city mayors, as these are the majority in Texas.
“I would suggest in Texas that, after all the years I’ve been doing this, up to 80 percent of mayors are Republican,” Igo said.
“They’re small city, small government type of people that think the government closes to the people is the best form of government and they’re very conservative. They don’t ever go in and just raise tax rates in order just for the heck of it because they have to answer to their voters and they’re very conservative and what they’re responding to are what the needs of that community is. And so for the governor to take in stride this nation wide movement to pound on local government seems like its gonna backfire.”
A group of Valley mayors met with Gov. Abbott on Friday.