Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of two books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."

Road Taxes Should Fund Roads? What A Crazy Idea…

Sen. John CaronaState Sen. John Carona says in today’s Dallas Morning News that Texas must “stop the diversion of gas tax funds for other uses.” That’s welcome news. While the state’s constitution currently requires transportation funds to be used for transportation expenses, “transportation” is a constantly-expending term.

According to the Morning News, almost a third of Texas’ gasoline tax revenues for transportation have been “diverted” away from true transportation projects.

Got Tax Relief? Not In Houston…

So you think you’re getting tax relief? If you live in Houston, chances are you are not. The school district there are doing everything they can to reach into your family’s pocket-book and exact every last dollar they can.

Grow Government Today, Pay For It Later

NCSLBad ideas are running rampant in Beantown. I've come to Boston for the National Conference of State Legislators. It should be called the National Conference for Growing Government. By and large, NCSL is a cheerleading session for those legislators, bureaucrats, rent-seekers and assorted hangers-on looking to grow the size and scope of government.

The first panel discussion I attended was illustrative: it was called "Financing State Government in a No New Taxes World."

Privatization Serves Taxpayers Even When Contractors Fail

Advocates of big government rarely let facts get in the way of their pursuit of growing budgets. Such is the case with Waco Tribune-Herald editor John Young, whose weekly column is very often devoted to the worship of government (of the activist variety) and the damnation of conservative, free market principles.

Property Tax Relief… For Government Employees

The headline in today's Houston Chronicle says it all: City union asks for property tax relief. My heart leapt for joy: Bureaucrats are now joining the call for tax relief!

But then I read the article… They don't want property tax relief for all taxpayers, only for government employees. Acting in true-to-bureaucratic form, the city employee union there is looking for a new taxpayer-funded program that would pay the property taxes of city employees. The audacity almost makes the head spin.

Ineffective Treatment?

The Houston Chronicle reported over the weekend that medical professionals are skeptical that the legislature's new $3 billion "cancer fund" will accomplish much more than spend $3 billion of the taxpayers' money.

But, don't worry, it was created with the best of intentions… State Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), summed it up nicely in her quote to the Chronicle that "she'd ‘like to sit back and tell my grandchildren I had something to do with the cure.' "

Deadweight, and Dead Weight

An elected official (a Republican, no less) told me yesterday he doesn't mind paying taxes because it is "the price of freedom." His doe-eyed statement was wrong on a great many levels, practical and philosophical. First and foremost, freedom's price has been paid — again and again — by the blood of patriots on battlefields near and far, not collected by revenue agents.

Cutting Fat With Good Feelings

 From the "Oh, What a Big Surprise Department," comes news that spending billions of taxpayer dollars on "nutrition education" has been a failure.

The Associated Press article makes it clear that about the only thing accomplished was making kids feel good about singing and dancing veggies. Oh, goody. The head of the federal program says, "We're finding success in things in which we have been able to measure, which are more related to knowledge and skill. It is more difficult for us to identify success in changing children's eating patterns."

Too Much Dust, Not Enough Results

Too Much Dust, Not Enough Results

Besides just bad philosophy, one of the worst contributors to government growth is our misplaced emphasis on defining success by activity. When you stand on the plains and look to the horizon, a great cloud of dust can be either an army purposefully on the move, or a lone idiot riding his horse in circles. 

Too often, we are just interested in seeing a great cloud of dust, and not interested enough in the results. In every debate in Austin (and in Washington) the discussion centers too much on "how much we have/are/will spend" and not nearly enough on "what we have/are/will accomplish."