Message of Governor James S. Hogg to the twenty-fourth legislature of Texas Page: 39 of 48
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MESSAGE OF GOVERmOR HOGG.
EVILS OF MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT.
Perhaps the most menacing condition that threatens the prosperity of
the people now lies in the abuses that infest municipal governments. By
what methods salutary changes may be wrought, is, to say the least,
problematical. The subject is worthy of the most serious consideration
of your honorable bodies. The disposition to increase taxes under the
pretext of street pavement and public improvement, but in fact to support
an idle horde of officials, points with unerring certainty to the dangers
that lie ahead of the people. Next to the assassin's gun, the abuse
of the taxing power breeds more distress among the people than any
other cause with which they must contend. While, under the Constitution,
the Legislature is permitted to grant special charters to cities having
more than ten thousand population, yeA there is nothing in it to require
this to be done. At each session of the Legislature lobbyists swarm
around the halls, seeking to have city charters amended or re-enacted
so as to extend the powers of municipal government. There is but little
uniformity either in the ordinances or in the policies or the management
of the several cities of this State. In so far as the Constitution will
permit, they grow up to,be independent municipalities, often menacing
property rights and public interests.
It would be well for the Legislature to refuse to grant any more charters,
or to amend them; but instead thereof to revise the code and laws on
municipal government, and make .them apply to all the cities and towns.
Or, it would be well to re-enact the laws on municipal government so as
to embrace three chapters: The first to apply to and govern cities of
over ten thousand; the second, to cities of ten thousand and less and
over fve thousand; and the third to towns of five thousand and less.
The abuse of the taxing power in many of the municipalities, or towns
and cities, is tantamount almost to confiscation of the people's property.
Strong restrictions should be placed over these governments for the protection
of property from such abuses.
It is common, also, in the small towns, to find several sets of officials
who are useless in their idleness, but must be supported at public expense.
In some of them it is common to see justices of the peace, recorders, constables,
policemen, deputy sheriffs, and "special" officers, each, within
his peculiar jurisdictional lines, ready to harass the citizen. It would be
well, in towns and cities of less than five thousand inhabitants, to give
justices of the peace jurisdiction of all criminal offenses within the city
limits, and have the constable or deputy sheriff located there.to execute
all criminal processes. There is but little use, in such places, for recorders
or mayors to try cases, or policemen or special officers to make arrests.
Careful investigation and thoughtful attention by your honorable bodies
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Hogg, J.S. (James S.). Message of Governor James S. Hogg to the twenty-fourth legislature of Texas, book, 1895; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5862/m1/39/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .