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."

No Tax Reform, But An Industry Blooms

Remember the campaign promises for property tax relief? Seen your latest property tax bill? The rates are going down (a little, because of the 2006 tax swap), but the bills are going up (a lot, thanks to appraisal creep). 
Six days remain in the legislative session, and despite record-breaking budget surpluses lawmakers haven’t delivered on the desperately needed additional property tax relief.

That ticking sound from Austin

With just 10 days left in the legislative session, time is running out. On the one hand, that is a good thing – less time for bad things to get done. On the other, it’s less time for good things to be accomplished. Either way, the clock is ticking. Here are some important items pending in the Senate…

Your Tax Relief On Life Support

It's hard to believe I'm even having to write this: but your only shot at getting even a little bit of honest property tax relief is on life support, and hours away from death. Please call your legislator today and ask them to demand that House Bill 2785 come up for a vote right now!
Due to the rules of the Legislature, H.B. 2785 must be heard essentially now, or it is dead.

More Taxes, Courtesy of Republican Fred Hill

There was once a time when Republicans were known as the tax-cutters; people who – if nothing else – would work to make sure the taxpayers’ money stayed in the taxpayers’ wallet (as State Rep. Rob Eissler likes to say).

That was then, this is now. State Rep. Fred Hill (R-Richardson) wants to raise your local taxes. Sure, he wants to start with the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But don’t worry; this new tax will spread like a virus to every city in Texas. He is pushing a bill to let those cities raise their sales tax to fund mass transit. (Never mind that mass transit is usually spelled “B-O-O-N-D-O-G-G-L-E.” or, in the original French, “P-O-R-K”)

Super-Subsidize Me


It's getting increasingly easy to get on the government gravy train. From movie studio execs to Ph.D. families, the hand-outs just don't end in this Republican-controlled legislature. Small government. Right…

This week, the Texas Senate's Finance Committee is considering a hand-out to mega-rich movie moguls threatening to take their latte's and go shoot their TV shows somewhere else.

‘Cut and Run’ Republicans?

So the cut-and-run retreat of Republicans from conservative values and principles continued this week. While the modern French are widely known for a willingness to surrender before a battle is fought, it seems Republicans in the Texas House are even willing to retreat from settled victory!


Republican legislators voted to unravel the reforms to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, with only 19 legislators exhibiting any backbone. The rest? Cut and ran; they’d rather be loved by the left than govern from the right. (Here’s the list of the Republicans: The Good, The Trying Hard, and the Cut-And-Run Caucus.)

Protecting Texas’ Free Market

For the last decade, Texas has been the national leader in making moves toward substantive, free-market reforms as means to solve problems and improve the quality of life.


T exas’ accomplishments have played an important role in helping other states, and even Washington, take the same direction. Today, many of these accomplishments are threatened, most notably with plans to re-regulate the electric markets. This change could have national implications, and it certainly does not bode well for anyone doing any type of business in the state.

Messing With Your Business

We know now that the state’s Texas Youth Commission was obscenely managed. The Texas Lottery was a scandal ridden mess a while back. The abuses of the Children’s Health Insurance Program are a lesson in lunacy. Name a government agency, and it’s been scandal plagued, mismanaged, or worse. And those are things legislators are supposedly elected to manage!


So it is nothing short of stupefying to find that the Republican-controlled Legislature seems to think they can accurately manage the private business of business better than the business owners.

Where There’s Smoke, There’s A Tax


Nothing is worse than having a fire, with no way to put it out. There is a clear public purpose to be served in using tax revenues to fight fires. That's why people can, with a local vote, implement an Emergency Services District. These districts levy property taxes to fund fire, emergency rescue and ambulance services.

But not content with letting local voters decide tax priorities, legislators – led by Rep. Jim Keffer (R-Eastland) – want to add a new tax on all property insurance policies in the state to fund fire protection services (HB2421). So if you and your neighbors have a fire department (full-time or volunteer), which you fully fund and staff, you'll be taxed to pay for people who haven't done so somewhere else.