Op-Ed: If You Can’t Fight City Hall, Make Your Own

The following article was authored by and contributed to Breitbart Texas by Jess Fields.

The old expression “you can’t fight city hall” seems more relevant than ever, with cities all over the state and country imposing massive new regulatory schemes that threaten both our liberty and pocketbooks.

But rather than struggle upstream against big government policies and central planning agencies at the local level, some Texans have figured out an innovative new way to protect their rights from usurpation. Instead of fighting their cities, they are just creating their own.

This concept – where Texans create new cities for the express purpose of protecting their liberty – is called the “Liberty City.” On Tuesday, the Texas Public Policy Foundation released a new study called “The Liberty City: A New Concept for Self-Governance,” which looks at the concept and encourages the Texas Legislature to act to promote this exciting new effort. And last week, State Senator Konni Burton filed a bill to put the Liberty City idea into law.

The small community of Kingsbury, just outside Seguin, may become the next Liberty City. Last Friday, the Guadalupe County Judge signed an order calling for an incorporation election for Kingsbury on May 9. If it passes, Kingsbury will become its own municipality.

Kingsbury’s incorporation effort is a shot across the bow to the big neighbor next door, the City of Seguin. Seguin has been expanding its Extraterritorial Jurisdiction – or ETJ – for a number of years as the city has grown by annexing more and more territory. Recently, Seguin annexed enough land to bring much of historic Kingsbury into its ETJ.

The ETJ acts like a second set of city limits, extending out miles from the actual city limits of Texas municipalities. While citizens living in the ETJ are not taxed, they can be regulated, and they are not allowed to incorporate.

They also aren’t allowed to vote in city elections, meaning that the ETJ really acts like “regulation without representation.”

The Liberty City proposal allows residents of an area that may be subject to annexation by a bigger municipality to form their own community, even if they are in the ETJ. This allows local residents to protect their rights.

Senator Burton’s bill,  SB 710, creates the Liberty City in state law as an option for citizens who are trying to resist big government by creating their own freedom-loving small city. When incorporating, citizens have an option between Type A, B, and C general law municipalities. If Senator Burton’s bill passes, they would also have the option of creating a “Liberty City.”

This would allow people in Kingsbury’s situation to resist being brought under the thumb of another city without their consent by just creating their own city. As it stands, Kingsbury doesn’t have that option. So they are incorporating what they can, which is the slice of their community not within the ETJ of Seguin.

It shouldn’t be so difficult for the residents of Kingsbury to protect their rights from Seguin, and that’s why the Liberty City concept is so necessary. As big cities trample on the rights of Texans all over the state, there has to be a way to fight back.

If this idea is successful, Texans will gain the opportunity not just to fight city hall, but to create their own – one focused on protecting their individual rights, spending their money wisely, and fighting big government.

Perhaps Kingsbury, if the incorporation election is successful, will become the next Liberty City. If the Liberty City legislation passes, they won’t be the last.

The Hon. Jess Fields is the Senior Policy Analyst in the Center for Local Governance at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and a former College Station City Councilman. He may be reached at jfields@texaspolicy.com.

This article has been updated.


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