Today, the Texas Attorney General filed paperwork to join the case on behalf of the taxpayers challenging the law. The Attorney General’s office is concerned the practice violates the state constitution, which “prohibits the collection or expenditure of public money for anything other than public purposes.”
The lawsuit, filed last month by the Goldwater Institute and Texas Public Policy Foundation on behalf of two Austin taxpayers, seeks to halt the practice of “release time” also known as “association business leave,” and “union leave,” which assigns city employees to work for the union at taxpayer expense.
“The Attorney General is charged with ensuring that state and local laws are constitutional,” said Jonathan Riches, Director of National Litigation and General Counsel for the Goldwater Institute. “We are delighted that the Attorney General has joined this action to challenge a practice that is not only bad public policy, but violates Texas’s Constitution.”
TPPF General Counsel and Director of the Center for the American Future Robert Henneke said, “The City of Austin’s illegal release time agreement with the firefighters’ union hurts all citizens. By choosing to fund private political activities, the City diverts these resources from public safety services for Austin residents. As this practice negatively impacts the public as a whole, Plaintiffs applaud the Attorney General to intervene in order to represent the interests of all Texans.”