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DFW Mayors Discuss Legislative Agenda

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Dallas skyline | Image by f11photo

A group of 18 mayors from across Texas have released an outline of legislative priorities they would like the Texas Legislature to address as it begins its 88th session in Austin.

The organization Big City Mayors (BCM) includes the leaders of cities such as Amarillo, Austin, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Houston, San Antonio, and more. Several DFW mayors are also members, such as Eric Johnson of Dallas, Mattie Parker of Fort Worth, Ron Jensen of Grand Prairie, and Arlington’s Jim Ross.

Describing itself as “a bipartisan coalition of mayors from Texas’ most populous cities … that advocates for policies and initiatives that will strengthen our communities,” the group represents more than 8.5 million people.

The mayors pledged to “support legislation that would protect community-based decision making” while promising to “oppose legislation that would diminish the fundamental authority of cities to operate in a manner that addresses the priorities and unique needs of our communities.”

Additionally, BCM chose to “support legislation to provide meaningful property tax relief to Texas residents,” which corresponds to the stated aims of both Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, as covered by The Dallas Express.

The listed priorities also include “the continuation of local and state incentives to supplement local economic development strategies to recruit and retrain employers.”

The BCM also requested “additional resources to help mitigate gun violence” and “legislation that expands state funding and access to mental health services.”

Lastly, the mayors pledged to “support legislation that improves access to broadband connectivity … and the ability of all cities in Texas to participate in the Texas Broadband grant programs.”

Mayor Mattie Parker of Fort Worth explained to The Dallas Express, “I’m proud to partner with this group of Texas mayors to bring attention to issues that matter to the residents of each of our cities.”

“It is a tremendous strength to work together on issues where 18 mayors of unique cities find consensus,” she continued. “Certainly, each item on the Texas Big City Mayors list is vital to Fort Worth’s success, and I’ll be paying especially close attention to legislation related to property tax relief, early childhood education, and expansion of broadband infrastructure.”

Arlington Mayor Jim Ross added, “As a member of Big City Mayors, I encourage the Texas State Legislature to work in a bipartisan manner to advance policies, such as the ones outlined in our agenda, that will move Texas forward.

“My priorities on the list of initiatives are local governance, workforce and education, and public health and violence prevention,” he highlighted to The Dallas Express.

“Community-based decision making is vitally important so that cities are able to address the unique needs of their own communities. Within our communities, our public schools need adequate funding,” Ross continued.

Ron Jensen, the mayor of Grand Prairie, similarly noted to The Dallas Express, “This list was a collaboration between all 18 cities where we attempted to highlight non-partisan priorities that we feel are important to our constituents.”

As the 88th legislative session gets started down in Austin, several of these agenda items will doubtless be heavily debated.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and Plano Mayor John Muns, who both belong to BCM, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

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Betsy Whitfill
Betsy Whitfill
8 days ago

I didn’t see any reference to the existential threat of homelessness to the cities of N. Texas. Did they forget? We will not forget.

Thomas
Thomas
8 days ago

BCM is not much more than a mouthpiece for the Democratic party. Austin, Houston, and Dallas are the most liberal enclaves in Texas.

I haven’t forgotten that Dallas’ mayor recently asked surrounding communities to help pay for Dallas’ homelessness problem, something Dallas started by trying to throw money at it. Like NYC, he attracted homeless people to Dallas, but his body can’t fulfill the promises his mouth made.