Accountability and Transparency in Government
The Government for the People campaign agenda seeks to strengthen the rights of individuals and families, while eliminating the ability of government to harm citizens through an abuse of power.
- Pass a conservative Texas budget. The state budget should not grow faster than Texans’ ability to pay for it. Texas should limit the total budget growth to a maximum of population growth plus inflation so that we can keep spending in check and return excess funds to taxpayers.
- Eliminate property taxes. Texans will never truly know the peace of mind that comes with owning their own home until we eliminate property taxes. These taxes discourage homeownership and even push middle-class families out of their homes. Texas can eliminate property taxes by phasing in a buydown using surplus state revenue and redesigning the system to raise revenue with a broader sales tax base.
- Establish the Office of Election Integrity. The Office’s primary mission would be to investigate election crime on the part of individuals, such as election fraud, as well as malfeasance or crime on the part of elected or appointed election officials, such as unaudited voter rolls or accepting invalid mail in ballots. Additionally, the Office of Election Integrity would regularly conduct audits of the Texas electoral system to identify loopholes, shortcomings, and other problems. It would then report on these findings to the Texas legislature so that legislators can make informed decisions to fix or reform electoral code.
- Create new District Attorneys and Judges to enforce election law. Texas should establish new regional districts with District Attorneys and Judges vested with the criminal authority to prosecute election crimes and the civil authority to enforce election code requirements against non-cooperating government entities.
- Restrict local spending increases. Local governments spend too much. Their excesses are driving taxes higher and increasing the cost of living. Taxpayers need help. To instill fiscal discipline, the statehouse should require cities and counties to limit their spending growth to population growth plus inflation.
- Sunset special purpose districts. Part of Texas’ property tax problem is that there are simply too many governmental entities. To stop the proliferation of obscure unaccountable governments, the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission should conduct a comprehensive review of existing special purpose districts and require certain new special purpose districts to be periodically reauthorized by a public election.
- Prohibit tax dollars from funding lobbyists. Local governments spend tax dollars to hire lobbyists to advocate for higher taxes, more spending, and greater regulatory authority. The Texas Legislature should ban the practice to ensure that Texans do not fund the special interests that work against the taxpayers’ interests.
- Reform extraterritorial jurisdictions (ETJ). Texans who live in an ETJ are governed by people they didn’t elect and subject to regulations they didn’t approve. Texas should reform ETJs to make them consistent with principles respecting property rights.
- Allow areas to disannex from local governments. Texas should empower citizens to disannex themselves from a city to ensure their local government is held accountable for representing and serving its entire constituency.
- Conduct city and county efficiency audits. Texas should require all cities and counties to conduct periodic efficiency audits looking for waste, fraud, and abuse in their budgets and operations.
- Conduct comprehensive emergency powers reform. The COVID-19 pandemic saw an aggressive expansion of government control over the lives of American citizens. Texas was not immune to the trend as government officials sought to expand emergency powers to cover a multitude of restrictive measures despite said overreach failing to pass state constitutional muster. What Texans need is a responsible government who protects the liberty of its citizens rather than curb their freedoms through the expansion of emergency powers.
- End daylight saving time. Daylight Saving Time (DST) is an antiquated system created during wartime to support the war effort. Since the adoption of the Uniform Time Act of 1966, states are only allowed to opt out of DST and revert to standard time. Switching clocks twice a year has little benefit toward productivity and may be a leading cause for certain health-related problems. Texas should return to Standard Time.
- Protect the right of employees to negotiate for benefits. City governments are interfering with the ability of employees to negotiate for the employment benefits that work best for them by imposing one-size-fits-all mandates. The Texas Legislature should move to prohibit local governments from denying employees the freedom to determine their own employment benefits packages.
- Improve Accountability with Open Public Records. Access to information is a cornerstone of democratic society and allows the public to hold government officials accountable. The Texas Legislature must take additional steps to ensure that Texans have full and complete access to public information, with minimal exception, and know how public officials are conducting business and spending tax dollars.
- Define Success in Homelessness Policy. Texas should better define success with regard to its homeless policies so citizens and public officials can hold agencies responsible for the growing problem in across the state.
- Create a Homeless-Family Definition. Texas should require that agencies include all homeless families in the annual homeless count and are thus eligible for publicly-funded programs.