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Taking decentralization too far

Seriously?

The governor and attorney general might have to work in Austin, but under a proposed constitutional amendment, they won’t have to live there.

Under the proposed amendment, the century-old requirement that state leaders reside in the capital city would be erased and all statewide officeholders could live anywhere in Texas.

Supporters cited modern communications and transportation, saying that living in Austin is not a requisite to successfully manage their offices.

But critics suggested that elected officials should not be commuting “once a month, or once a week,” to their offices.

Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, the longest-serving House member, said the amendment could be open to abuse by allowing elected officials to live hundreds of miles away from their employment.

“A lot of people think if you’re a fulltime employee, you should be here full time,” Craddick said.

“I don’t know how you can be leading an agency if you’re living in Paint Creek,” he said.

He proposed altering the proposal to allow statewide officeholders to live within 50 miles of Austin, but it was defeated.

Opponents also raised the objection that state taxpayers could be footing the bill for long commutes. Several lawmakers pointed out that a daily round-trip flight could be considered business travel for statewide officials to get to Austin and back home.

This to me is a classic solution in search of a problem. I see nothing wrong with the current setup, and no compelling reason to change it. I agree with Tom Craddick and the other critics, and will vote No on this proposal when it appears on my November ballot.

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One Comment

  1. Norman says:

    Speaking of proposed constitutional amendments, it looks like we’ll have seven on the Nov. 3 ballot: Proposed amendments from Lege website