"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,"
As we look towards the 85th, one thought stands out: Properly leveraged, Dan Patrick's proposed property tax reforms combined with Greg Abbott's proposed ethics reforms have the potential to radically transform the legislature over the long run.
Consider Lt. Governor Patrick's statement in April:
“Hear me clearly, we are not at war with local officials, but we are going to fight for the people of your districts that cannot afford these property tax increases. You don’t have the luxury to spend people’s money and price them out of their home…you just don’t. We are going to reduce property taxes, I believe, in a significant way this legislative session.”Consider furthermore that over half of the lobbyists at the capitol represent local governmental entities and it doesn't take a genius to see how restricting the ability of those governmental entities to collect record revenues far in excess of anything reasonable will lead to dramatically fewer lobbyists at the capitol defending the status quo.
Consider, next, Abbott on Ethics:
It likewise doesn't take a genius to see how restricting the ability of legislators to benefit from their office will, over time, reduce the number of legislators who want to defend the status quo.
[Author's Note: The shenanigans related to the death of the ethics bill last session is a subject for another day; this post is about NEXT session.]
Strong property tax reforms combined with strong ethics reform will lead to dramatically fewer legislators and lobbyists around the capitol with a vested interest in the status quo.
Alter the financial incentives to alter behavior.