Little Bits 6

Too Many “Sex Toys”
In 1973, the Texas legislature passed a law that makes it illegal to possess more than six “sex toys.” The law remains on the books. Supposedly, anyone possessing more than six “sex toys” is promoting pornography. Religious conservatives would like us to believe that pornography threatens our way of life. In truth, a government that regulates the most intimate details of our lives poses a far greater threat.

Uber and DUI in Austin
While the data is limited, it appears that Uber and Lyft may have helped reduce drunk driving in Austin. Before the ride sharing companies arrived in Austin in 2014, the city averaged 525 DUI arrests per month. By May 2016, the average was down to 358.

However, last summer Austin passed new regulations to control Uber and Lyft. The companies exited the Austin market and DUI arrests immediately began rising. There were 476 DUI arrests in July 2016.

Uber has a moral right to operate its business as it deems best. The company’s success demonstrates that consumers love the service. It would appear that the company is also keeping drunk drivers off the road.

Houston’s Revenue “Problem”
In 2004, voters imposed a property tax cap on the City of Houston. Mayor Turner wants to remove that cap to deal with the city’s budget deficit, and the issue will be put before voters in November.

But the city doesn’t have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. It spends money on a plethora of programs that are far removed from government’s proper purpose–protecting individual rights.

The city could solve its budget problems by limiting itself to its proper functions. As a start, it should get out of the housing business, sell its parks and libraries, and repeal rights-violating ordinances, such as building codes and land-use regulations.

In the coming months, we are certain to hear a great deal of whining from City Hall about the need to lift the cap. And we can be just as certain that we will hear threats of fewer police officers on the streets if the cap isn’t lifted. When faced with tough budget choices, politicians seldom consider reducing spending. Instead, they resort to hysteria and veiled threats.

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