This commentary originally appeared in the Austin American-Statesman on February 17, 2015. 

The makeup of Texas government shifted dramatically during the last few months. A wholesale change in statewide officials and legislators has made the climate in Austin significantly more liberty minded.

While this shift came about by the will of a significant majority of Texans, not everybody is happy with it. And many of them are now in Austin seeking to maintain the status quo.

Take, for instance, the fight over tax cuts. Trimming the high taxes that have produced a budget surplus remains a top priority among conservative officials and the grassroots. However, both big spenders and the recipients of government largess are fighting against the cuts.

In fact, many hope to move us in the opposite direction, wanting to spend more money on transportation, water, maintenance of state buildings, health care, education — just about anything that would take money away from the tax cuts.

Business groups have also joined the chorus, favoring more spending in areas that just happen to benefit their members through direct and indirect subsidies.

A novel attack on tax cuts is that they should give way to paying down the state’s debt. Now don’t get me wrong — reducing debt is a good thing. But advocates of this approach never talk about the one idea that would allow the government to cut taxes, spend more on priorities, and reduce debt — cutting unnecessary spending.

Supporters of “local control,” like the Texas Municipal League, are also upset about potential change. They responded to Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent call for reigning in local government by saying current law gives cities the “authority to enact reasonable regulations to protect health and safety and property values.”

The cry to maintain local control is simply a plea to maintain the status quo. Conservatives should instead cry out for liberty.

Others defenders of the status quo are complaining about legislation that would keep the government out of the business of determining how much electricity generation Texas has.

To put this in context, Texas for years has generally allowed the private sector to determine how much generation capacity is needed to keep the lights on. But a recent attempt to make this a government function and impose a $3 billion a year electricity tax on consumers exposed a flaw in current law.

The Legislature should prohibit Texas from ever having a “capacity market,” where the government determines how much electricity consumers need and how much they should pay for it. Likewise, the Legislature should eliminate the current restriction on how much generation capacity any one company should have — a law that simply makes it more difficult for the market to meet consumer demand.

But regulators, so-called consumer activists, and even some in industry have opposed this change. Perhaps because it is a lot harder to achieve one’s preferred outcome in a market than when decisions are in the hands of a few regulators in Austin.

Like with the poor, we will always have rent seekers with us, those who fight against the forces of change — and liberty — in order to maintain the benefits they receive under the status quo.

However, the poor — and the rest of us — will be much better off if the Texas Legislature takes on the status quo establishment and expands the climate of liberty in the Lone Star State.

Peacock is the vice president for research and director for the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.