Lubbock, Wichita Falls & Abilene not so different from Washington, DC

Pratt on Texas - copyright Pratt on Texas all rights reservedFor many years I’ve pointed out how wrong it is to point to Washington, DC and say look how out of control it is; look how irresponsible they are; look at the stupid decisions they take; look at how self-serving they are, and; there’s just something in DC that ruins them.

What goes on in Washington is the same behavior that goes on with “local control” in our local governments: Raising taxes year after year because there is no discipline on either spending or setting priorities; forcing individuals to take money from their own families to realize the dreams of others in community and school show-off project from fancy press boxes and scoreboards to water parks, arts complexes, and hotel projects.

How different from DC is it that for decades the insular crowd running Abilene’s city government has somehow spent as much money as any other similar city and yet generally ignored the primary job of significant street maintenance?

How is it that civic cheerleaders in Wichita Falls can look voters in the eye and actually claim that tearing down taxpaying business locations and building new government facilities on top of such will create a net economic benefit? Who believes a new city hall causes businesses to choose one city over another?

In Lubbock voters are essentially being told that it makes economic sense to tear down a house in a good neighborhood worth a $100,000 just because a new roof, paint, and some repairs would cost $15,000. That’s a net loss of $85,000 plus the value of the lot! Scale it up to the city’s auditorium-coliseum complex and the net loss is at least eighty-five million dollars to taxpayers.

The absurdity so often observed in Washington, DC starts with those we elect in our own backyard.


  1. I was asking my self the same question about Abilene today. T monsterous loans that i know of since I’ve lived here and the streets just get worse and worse. I don’t see where the money has gone – but hey! We got a “waterpark” so there’s that.

  2. A word synonymous with Abilene is ‘neglect’. In 2015 $80.69 million worth of general obligation bonds were approved with less than 10,000 voters showing at the polls. That is the real neglect . While half of the bonds went to street repair ($46 million) imagine the surprise when the average taxpayer found out a little over a year ago that the streets needed another $377 million in repairs and two months later the civic center that has been a destination icon for 46 years under the leadership of the chamber of commerce and the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau, having almost the same operating budget as the street department had in materials , now needs $16 million in repairs and the council had to budget .01 cent to the 2018 tax rate as an emergency band-aid to make the restrooms ADA compliant. Last month it was learned that there are other restrooms adjacent to the new splash pads that suffer from the same neglect. The chamber crowd was successful in getting two of their candidates elected last year to the council that make no bones about that they represent constituents that want to ‘ raise taxes ‘ including the 11% that the proposed Street Maintenance Fee (TAX) would raise without any citizen input or vote. Yes,the river of neglect feeds a swamp in West Texas and it is at the confluence of Cedar , Elm ,and Catclaw Creek at City Hall.

  3. Look, the Lubbock auditorium-coliseum complex is over 20 years old. IT MUST BE TORN DOWN BECAUSE IT IS OVER 20 YEARS OLD. (And if it drives the City of Lubbock into penury to follow such a policy…so be it. Right?)

What do you think?...

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