TXLegeHub logo TXLegeHub logo
— a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation —

Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying

According to reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission by lobbyists required to register in the state of Texas, local Texas governments spent about $43 million in taxpayer funds to influence state policymakers in 2017. So long as government is large and powerful—taxing, spending, and regulating in ways that can significantly affect the profitability of businesses and the well-being of people—individuals will be driven to influence government.


  • Ensure that taxpayers do not fund the special interests in Austin by ending government funding of lobbyists.

Talking points for liberty fighters

  • Last session, local Texas governments spent $41 million of taxpayer money on contract lobbyists
  • 91% of people polled oppose taxpayer funded lobbying
  • In addition, hundreds of local government employees descend on the state Capitol every session to lobby for more power and money for local government—these people do not register as lobbyists.
  • Lastly, public agency associations such as the Texas Municipal League sell advertising to government contractors with the income from this advertising going to pay for lobbyists.
  • Of the 29 people who testified against SB 2, all were either lobbyists, local government employees, or local elected officials

Our stance on specific bills related to this issue

HB 281

  • Allows local government employees to provide information for a member of the Legislature or appear before a committee at the request of the committee or member of this body
  • Does not restrict local elected officials from communicating with the legislature
  • Local government employees who advocate for or against legislation pending before the Legislature so long as that persons activities don’t cross the threshold under Chapter 305 (requires registration as a lobbyist).

HB 433

  • Increases transparency by requiring local governments to detail the amount of taxpayer funds used to lobby the legislature
  • The First Amendment allows individuals the right to petition for a “redress of grievances”, not the government

The Latest