Monday, April 13, 2009

Eckhardt's insights on Williamson County in SB 855

Thanks to Travis County Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt, who spoke to a community meeting last week in the New Sweden Church fellowship hall. I will have more on her comments later, but I wanted to report her insights on an issue we have been covering: John Carona's SB 855 on allowing local transportation taxes for the state's largest urban areas.

On March 26, we noted what seemed to be a contradiction. At the same time, the Williamson County commissioners unanimously voted to join the Central Texas transportation taxing authority that would be created by SB 855, while our Senator Ogden added an amendment to the bill that excludes Williamson Co. from joining such a taxing district.

SB 855 has now passed the Senate and is headed for the House. Sen. Ogden was one of nine senators voting against the bill.

According to Comm. Eckhardt, the Wilco commissioners were eager to join in a Travis Co./Central Texas transportation/taxing entity. However, after they voted to join the proposed district, other area elected officials such as Sen. Ogden felt that their area would not be in favor of any new taxes and he succeeded in excluding Wilco in the legislation.

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