Keeping Texas Competitive Overview
Adopt Real Texas Budget Solutions and Keep Taxes Low
Last session’s budget gimmicks and constant calls for more government spending will make it challenging for those who wish to balance the 2014-15 Texas budget without new revenue. To keep spending and taxes under control, Texans should:
- Limit increases in state and local spending to the lesser of population growth plus inflation, the growth in gross state product, or the growth in personal income.
- Phase out the Texas margin tax by 2018.
- Consolidate and eliminate state agencies and programs.
- Make state and local government employee pension systems more sustainable and accountable.
- Move from a strategy-based budget to a program-based budget to promote greater transparency.
Protect Our Health, Environment, and Energy Economy, Texas-style
Special interests in Washington, D.C. and Austin want to promote centralized, bureaucratic control of health care, environmental protection, and energy production. To ensure a Texas-style approach to these issues, Texans should:
- Require the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to apply for a waiver that would deliver Texas’ Medicaid funding through a block grant.
- Require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to conduct a regulatory impact analysis of all proposed rules.
- Increase the capacity and reliability of the Texas electricity market by eliminating renewable energy subsidies, price controls, and regulatory overreach and maintaining Texas’ energy-only market.
Build a Higher Quality, More Efficient Education System
Rapid growth in education spending has failed to improve Texas schools. Parental choice and accountability combined with local control is what is needed to improve education quality and reduce costs. To this end, Texans should:
- Increase the ability of citizens and parents to transform a traditional ISD into a home-rule school district.
- Enact a “parent trigger” that allows parents to transform local schools into campus or program charters.
- Require universities to post online and give applicants performance information on: student academic performance, graduation rates, post-graduate earnings, evidence of post-graduate earnings, etc.
Foster a Free Market Economy and Protect Property Rights
People want to live, work, and do business in Texas because liberty fosters prosperity. To increase economic growth, create more jobs, and protect consumers,Texans should:
- Eliminate the “must pass” provision of sunset review legislation and allow the Sunset Commission to only abolish/ eliminate agencies, committees, boards, and statutes.
- Increase property rights by applying the Private Real Property Protection Act to Texas cities and by eliminating eminent domain takings not for a public use.
- Reduce regulation and increase competition in all Texas markets, including telecommunications, insurance, and consumer finance.
Maintain Strong, Effective Criminal and Civil Justice Systems
Texas leads the country in reshaping its criminal and civil justice systems. To keep these moving in the right direction, Texas should:
- Stop the excessive criminalization of business activities by reducing occupational licensing and sunsetting the 1,800 criminal offenses outside of the Penal Code unless they are incorporated into the Penal Code.
- Protect Texas’ civil justice system from attacks that would increase lawsuit abuse.