Just back from a long delayed face to face with Gov. Abbott, San Antonio Mayor Ron NIrenberg says it is time for the Legislature to stop bashing the state's urban areas, and start working with them, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"We are generating the economic development, we are educating our citizens, we are building our infrastructure, and that has created what is one of the strongest economies in the world," Nirenberg said.
Nirenberg and other big city mayors have long complained of an 'anti city bias' on the part of top state officials. He points to the number of bills in the current Special Session which are aimed at neutering the authority of cities to run their own affairs, from laws limiting annexation authority to the ability of cities to levy property taxes to fund growth, to the 'bathroom bill,' which would strip cities of approving 'non discrimination ordinances' that protect transgenders.
Legislative leaders say cities need to be prohibited from infringing on the rights of citizens to approving runaway property taxes. Gov. Abbott frequently says his desire for statewide regulations, like a bill to overturn local laws banning cell phone use while driving, is part of a need not to have a confusing 'patchwork' of laws across the state.
Analysts say at the heart of the state versus city battle is the fact that the state remains overwhelmingly Republican, while the cities, in the 2016 election, voted increasingly Democrat.
Nirenberg says it does the state no good to marginalize its engines of prosperity.
"I told him that he could do as the leader of this state is to cool the temperature," Nirenberg said. "The vitriol and the rhetoric that has been created is from that legislative agenda."
The Mayor says the 'governor's position is clear' and he does not expect Abbott to instantly become a big fan of the priorities and goals of the state's urban areas.