Some local officials get huge paychecks. Others walk away with supersized severance packages. Still others are handed pricey perks.
Case in point: Bexar County.
Included in one of the county’s budget documents is a compensation chart for top officials. The chart includes a column specifying the car allowance given to each official. Some, like the county judge, are not provided with anything, while others are offered several thousand dollars per year at taxpayer expense.
Some Bexar County officials’ car allowances total $6,000 per year or $500 per month. Other officials’ publicly-funded stipends max-out at $9,000 per year or $750 per month. The latter amount is well above the average monthly auto loan payment for new and used vehicles in Texas, and all allowances come in addition to officials’ base salary.
Excesses like these are indicative of a larger problem—overspending. As Texans continue to struggle with a sluggish economy, officials need to rethink old spending habits.
They can begin by reducing executive compensation, consolidating and eliminating programs, and tightening up with tools like third-party efficiency audits and zero-based budgeting.
It’s time for an entirely new mindset at the local level—one that recognizes that government officials shouldn’t drive a nicer car than the majority of their constituents can afford themselves.