Confusion and abuse of “local control” in Texas

Robert Pratt photo Copyright Pratt on Texas

Robert Pratt

Let’s talk a little more about the catchphrase “local control” so in vogue with advocates of big spending, all powerful local governments like cities, counties, and the like. It’s a phrase now used to justify just about any expansion of government power over the lives of citizens and the phrase is used to impart a sense of legitimacy to government power that would not otherwise exist.

Some call conservative support of limits on local government power and a preference for state level rules hypocritical. Why? Because they are ignoramuses who don’t have a clue as to what Federalism is about. They confuse a preference for limited federal power and strong state power with the issue of state power versus the power of municipalities and similar. They don’t understand that states formed the federal government to serve them as sovereign states.

Too many local authorities in Texas have been trying to supplant state authority. Whether over bag-bans; regulation of oil and gas production; sanctuary city policies, or; the creation of new civil traffic offenses, the Legislature needs to reign in such abuse of “local control.”

How a state organizes itself internally is its business. Some are states, others commonwealths; some have counties, others parishes; one even has a unicameral legislature. But more important to understand is that local governments in Texas exist at the pleasure of the state. They have only powers granted them by the state, not the other way around as in the federalist system.

This doesn’t mean that some issues are not best left to the most local authority and those are calls for the Legislature to make. It is also a duty of legislators to ensure that local authorities are not doing harm to the broader state and to reign them in when so doing.

Too many local authorities in Texas have been trying to supplant state authority. Whether over bag-bans; regulation of oil and gas production; sanctuary city policies, or; the creation of new civil traffic offenses, the Legislature needs to reign in such abuse of “local control.”

Again I say: Regulation closer to home is no less regulation and nothing makes the loss of freedom any less burdensome when it comes from local officials as opposed to those in Austin or D.C.

What do you think?...

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