It is not difficult to frame oneself as a cost-cutting conservative using a few budget tricks.  Move money from one agency to the next, keep budget line-items at smaller amounts than requested, use accounting gimmicks.  But to actually be a cost-cutting conservative, fighting the waste in government by aiming at regulations, mandates, and hidden, passed-on-Local-and-Consent programs?  That takes guts and it takes principle, something a new project has in spades, especially if used as a guide for crafting legislation come January.

The Texas Red Tape Challenge, launched by the Government Efficiency and Reform Committee in the Texas House (chaired by Rep. Bill Callegari, R-Houston), represents both things pretty well.  In the “Frequently Asked Questions,” the idea behind this project is to generate ideas for “how government regulations may be reduced, streamlined or eliminated.”  Already there are some amazing ideas on the site, aiming at two chambers of bureaucracy’s beating heart, over-regulation of the private sector and public education mandates.  Imagine a world where occupational licensing was left to the private sector, or if purchasing cooperatives were eliminated and government had to shop for the best prices.  Did you know that school districts are required to have an “integrated pest management coordinator” on staff – talk about unfunded mandates!  These are just some examples of what users have already suggested, and there are plenty more where those came from.
This is a wonderful opportunity for citizen input and a way to get some real insight into all the junk in Texas law.  Go on over, check it out, and vote on the various ideas for waste-cutting provided or add your own.  If you need a place to find all the mandates and regulations, check out the Texas Constitution and Statutes page on Texas Legislature Online.