New organization offers vision, leadership on tax relief, spending reforms
Advocacy efforts focused on promoting sound fiscal policy among lawmakers, taxpayers
AUSTIN, Texas â€“ Unveiled in Austin today is a new organization, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, developed to promote government accountability to taxpayers and citizens. The mission of TFR is to create and sustain a system of strong fiscal stewardship within all levels of state government that serves to empower all Texans.
Board chairman and Midland businessman Tim Dunn announced that the organization will be headed Michael Quinn Sullivan. Sullivan comes to TFR from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, where he served as vice president and director of media and government relations. TFR was originally founded in early 2006 as Empower Texans.
"It is an honor to be selected as president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility," said Sullivan. "I look forward to working with state lawmakers and citizens interested in making government more transparent and accountable to taxpayers. With so many vested interests in Austin lobbying hard for programs that spend the taxpayersâ€™ dollars, the hard-working Texans asked to foot the bill need to be represented."
Sullivan said TFR will initially be engaged in seeking to ensure the $15 billion surplus is returned to taxpayers in the form of tax relief. The organizationâ€™s website and blog is available at www.empowertexans.com.
"If lawmakers spend the surplus, they commit taxpayers to future ongoing spending and tax increases," he said. "Instead, the legislature should be encouraged to do the right thing: commit themselves to putting taxpayer protection at the top of the budget priority list by using the surplus for tax relief. For the sake of long-term opportunities for economic growth, Texas must enact strong limitations on government spending, and cap the revenues government can take from the people."
In addition, TFR will promote a series of budget reforms this legislative session, including: reducing the impact of the newly created business tax; urging lawmakers to not exceed the current spending cap; protecting "dedicated" revenues for their designed purpose; requiring lawmakers to provide greater budget detail; enacting reforms to the current appraisal system; and, promoting transparency in spending.
During the session, TFR will score members of the legislature on fiscal responsibility issues and then disseminate the results to taxpayers in their districts. Sullivan said lawmakers will be notified in advance of votes that could be included in their score.
"Texas has historically held to conservative budget principles. But as we have seen nationally, it is far too easy for lawmakers to lose sight of those principles. By keeping voters and taxpayers informed, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility will help legislators remain accountable," added Sullivan.
TFRâ€™s team also includes Marc Levin. An accomplished writer, researcher and attorney, Levin will serve as general counsel.