The Texas Public Policy Foundation announced its top legislative priorities for the 88th Texas Legislative Session in 2023. They include several reforms that build on the success of last year’s regular and special sessions, as well as refocusing efforts on some issues that have seen progress in recent years but have not been accomplished.
“Our top legislative priority for 2023 is to ensure parents are the decision makers in their children’s education,” said TPPF’s CEO Greg Sindelar. “The pandemic has exposed parents to issues within their schools that they may not have known were there. From controversies over school closings to mask and vaccine mandates to questionable material in schools, parents across Texas have been shocked to learn that some school officials don’t believe parents’ legitimate concerns are worthy of respect and discussion. That’s why we must have curriculum transparency, along with a system for parents to have their questions respectfully addressed. Parents rightly believe they should be the ultimate authority in deciding what is best for their children and shouldn’t be locked into a specific school or district simply because of where they choose to live. Texas should remove these arbitrary barriers that prevent parents from choosing the best education for their children.”
In addition to education reforms, TPPF will continue to keep Texas Texan by focusing on improving state finances, fixing the state’s punitive property tax system, ensuring access to affordable and reliable energy, securing election results, overhauling foster care, and putting patients in charge of their health care. TPPF’s full Liberty Action Agenda of more than 50 specific reforms will be rolled out in the coming days. TPPF’s top ten priorities are:
- Put parents in control of their child’s education
- Eliminate property taxes
- Lower spending
- Prohibit tax dollars from funding lobbyists
- Secure the integrity of election results
- Better serve children and families within the foster system
- Guarantee Texas has access to affordable and reliable energy
- Protect constitutional rights and improve public safety
- Conduct state agency efficiency audits
- Give patients pricing information prior to scheduled services
“This is the earliest TPPF has ever released its legislative agenda for the upcoming session because we want to connect policymakers, activists, coalition partners, and others with the policy solutions Texans are demanding as soon as possible,” added Sindelar. “We will be working diligently all year to publish policy research, communications products, and polling, as well as holding educational events and building supportive communities all across the state. TPPF used all these tools in working with lawmakers last session to successfully pass more than 70 pieces of critical public policy legislation. We will continue to reach out and listen to the people of Texas, while building on our ongoing research, to achieve the same level of success in the 2023 session.”
2023 TPPF Liberty Action Agenda
- Put parents in control of their child’s education. Parents should be the ultimate decision makers when it comes to the best education for their child. To empower parents, Texas should make school curriculums transparent and demand school officials treat parents’ legitimate concerns with respect. Texas must hold its education system accountable for the quality of the education it provides and remove the barriers that limit where parents can choose to send their kids to school.
- Eliminate property taxes. 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.
- Lower spending. The Texas economy has rebounded faster than any other state from the pandemic-induced downturn due to its principled approach of limiting government spending and staying within a conservative Texas budget. Texas should continue to strengthen its economy by honoring the recently passed spending caps and going further to lower the burden on taxpayers.
- Prohibit tax dollars from funding lobbyists. The Texas Legislature should ban the practice to ensure that Texans do not fund the special interests that work against the taxpayers’ interests.
- Secure the integrity of election results. Texas should continue to improve its system for collecting and counting votes to ensure only legal votes are accepted, fundamental democratic rights are protected, and violations of election law are fully prosecuted.
- Better serve children and families within the foster system. Ensuring that no Texas child enters foster care without a safe, supportive home to go to will require the Legislature to reform standards governing the licensing and oversight of community-based foster care service providers.
- Guarantee Texas has access to affordable and reliable energy. Texas can secure the reliability of the electric grid by codifying a strong “firming requirement” that requires electric generators to guarantee a certain amount of power. Texas should protect ratepayers by exercising sole regulatory authority over greenhouse gas emissions to preempt municipal overreach and protect Texans’ pocketbooks from activist city councils.
- Protect constitutional rights and improve public safety. To keep Texas a beacon of freedom, the state should raise the burden of proof in civil asset forfeiture proceedings, respect individual rights in grand jury proceedings, and allow judges the ability to deny bail when there is a serious threat to the public.
- Conduct state agency efficiency audits. Efficiency audits are deep investigations that determine whether taxpayer dollars spent by the agency are achieving desired outcomes. Texas should require that every state agency undergo a regular efficiency audit to improve services provided to Texans while reducing waste and saving taxpayer dollars.
- Give patients pricing information prior to scheduled services. Texas should make it mandatory for medical providers to give patients the price for non-emergency procedures and treatments before performing them.