The city of Midland, Texas, is unique. It's a city out in the middle of nowhere and somewhat like the rural community it once was. But it's also a lot like the larger urban cities.
Around 75% of voters vote for Republicans in national elections, however the city government elected officials don't have to declare a party. And what we've ended up with is a progressive local government. Add in the socially conservative constituency, and we have a unique home brew of fiscal liberals and social conservatives.
How could that happen?
In The Real Reason Cities Lean Democratic, Emily Badger speculates that urban dwellers are fiscal liberals because residents being stacked on top of one another makes them appreciate money being spent on the common good. Maybe.
In Midland's case it's a matter of spend-it-while-ya-got-it. With unemployment low, incomes high, and housing in short supply, residents are complacent about the rising taxes. And they seem to be looking to government for relief from the housing shortage. Elected officials are eager to comply, especially those seeking reelection or a higher office. Mix in the intoxicating effect of coffers overflowing with ad valorem, sales and motel tax revenue. The only problem they contemplate is how to spend it all before the good times end.
So we see news reports about how the city is going to buy the old county courthouse and the land it sits on and give it to a developer to build a sky scraper. It looked good to the council on paper, and the city has cash burning a hole in its pocket. So they splurge. It's all for the common good, you see.
It's too bad there's no politician on the local political horizon who wants to give the money back to the people from whom it was taken.