The mayors of Texas’ five largest cities, including Austin Mayor Steve Adler, were left off the list of mayors who will meet with Gov. Greg Abbott over the coming week to discuss city-related issues at the Texas Legislature.
Mayors from Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth will not be in any of the meetings taking place Wednesday and Thursday at the governor’s mansion. Last week, 18 Texas mayors signed a letter requesting to meet with Abbott to talk about many of Abbott’s proposals they think would “impede the ability of Texas cities to provide vital services.”
Adler’s office and Texas Municipal League Director Bennett Sandlin said they were unsure why Adler and the other big city mayors were left out of the meetings. A phone message to Abbott’s staff was not immediately returned.
“Austin and Texas’ biggest cities are where Texas’ economy is growing fastest,” Adler’s spokesman Jason Stanford said. “If you hurt these cities, Texas bleeds. By refusing even to meet with these mayors, the governor is cutting off his nose to spite his state.”
Adler has called the special session a “war on cities,” decrying it for several of the policy items that critics believe are attacks on municipalities. Abbott has called on the Legislature to pass bills that would cap increases to property taxes and require voter approval for annexations, as well as bills that would undo several of Austin’s city ordinances, including its tree ordinance, its ban on all hand-held use of cell phones while driving and protections for construction workers.
According to the Texas Municipal League, Abbott will meet on Wednesday with the mayors of Corpus Christi, Galveston and San Marcos. The governor will meet Thursday with the mayors of Amarillo, El Paso and Lubbock. And on Aug. 2, Abbott is slated to meet with the mayors of Arlington, Frisco, Irving and McKinney.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct a quote from Jason Stanford.