Monday, February 11, 2019

#TXLEGE: What to pass NOW to set up Bigger Victories Later

"So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 90:12

[Note: It should go without saying, but obviously defending innocent human life from being slaughtered in Abortion mills is always the TOP priority.  Nevertheless, from a political perspective, that issue is covered.  While this list concerns liberty and the pursuit of happiness, let it be stated up front that life comes first.]

Anyone who has known this author for awhile knows that, over the past few sessions, we've come to see a certain set of practices as 'gatekeeper issues' that block a host of pro-citizen reforms. For those to move forward, we must remove the gatekeepers.  The following is a concrete plan to accomplish that objective.
  1. Automatic Property Tax Rollback Elections/School Finance "Relie-fficency" -- As we explained at last week's Senate hearing, automatic rollback scare the daylights out of spendthrift local governments.  That's because seeking regular permission from voters would alter the long-term trajectory of the property tax system.  It's the same principle as compound interest.

    We would be in a much stronger position today if reforms along the lines of HB 2/SB 2 had passed a decade ago.  That they didn't is...unfortunate, at best.  But if we want to be in a stronger position a decade from now, we need to (belatedly) start the process of 'trajectory-altering.'

    On school finance, we made-up the word "relie-fficency" to convey a somewhat complicated point: A more efficient school finance system is the easiest practical way to provide tangible property tax relief.

    Another point: If your long-term objectives involve abolishing property taxes and/or Robin Hood, it begins with a more efficient school finance system this session.
  2. Abolish Taxpayer Funded Lobbying -- Political speech is good.  We encourage it.  That being said, compelling citizens to subsidize one form of political speech is abhorrent.

    Taxpayer funded lobbying inverts the first amendment.  The first amendment exists to protect citizens from the government.  It's a one way street.  It doesn't work in the other direction.

    On a practical level, taxpayer funded lobbyists are the primary obstacle to any number of pro-citizen improvements.
  3. Abolish Taxpayer Subsides for Public Sector Unions -- Compelling citizens to subsidize the collection of dues for partisan political organizations disempowers the afore mentioned citizens.
  4. Statewide Pre-emption of Labor Law -- Local governments have no business micromanaging relationships between employers and employees [Note: The Feds don't either, but that's a topic for another day].  This is an ominous trend that, left unchecked, threatens to strangle entrepreneurial dynamism.  While Austin's 'sick leave' entitlement is the most obvious tangible example, the principle runs broader and deeper.
  5. Honest Elections -- None of the above matters if votes aren't counted accurately.
Bottom Line: Eliminate the gatekeepers and everything else will, over time, fall into place....

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