No one in the crony establishment—not the bureaucrats, lobbyists, or media shills—likes it when people have the temerity to start asking questions. We’re just supposed to accept the dictates of the status quo without question.

As an example, consider the unhinged diatribe of leftwing columnist Chris Tomlinson opining against Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s charges to the Texas Senate for study over the eight months until the start of the 2025 regular legislative session. In particular, Tomlinson was horrified that Patrick asked the Senate to

establish and report on the cost of eliminating:
o School maintenance and operation property taxes;
o All school property taxes; and
o All property taxes.

Plenty of external research—notably by the Huffines Liberty Foundation and the Texas Public Policy Foundation—has demonstrated the relative ease with which the Lone Star State could transition away from funding public education with property taxes without any new or increased taxes. They have both reported that the “cost” of doing so would be restricting what else the state government could spend those dollars on.

Yet, even with all the information available to those fine organizations, the Texas Senate has access to even more data. Why not let them publicly plumb it to get more definitive answers so that Texans can make an informed choice? In the March primary, nearly 78 percent of Republican voters gave support to a non-binding ballot statement regarding eliminating all property taxes levied in the state.

In context, more Republicans voted on that question (2.23 million) than voted in the contested race for the Texas Railroad Commission (1.95 million). So, to say Texans are interested in the subject would be an understatement.

Tomlinson falsely asserts that asking these questions (and, presumably, acting upon the answers) would “destroy public schools.” Seriously. If government schools depend on unfettered and unrestricted access to your bank account based on the arbitrary value assessed to your property, then maybe the government should be destroyed! But, in fact, what Tomlinson actually means—but lacks the intellectual courage to say—is that questioning the revenue stream that funds our bloated school bureaucracies might lead to reforms of how those schools operate.

Oh, the horror!

Like the rest of his leftist ilk, Tomlinson doesn’t care about academic outcomes or even revenue sources… He cares about feeding the leviathan. His faith is in governmental elites, not the citizenry of Texas. And so, no one can ask questions that will empower Texans.

This feels similar to those who forbid the state from asking about the citizenship/immigration status of students and their families or patients in the emergency room. Remember the extreme hysteria that went along with the Trump administration trying to ask, in gathering 2020 census data, the citizenship status of those in the country?

Why are we supposed to be afraid of questions? Why are we supposed to be threatened by data?

Perhaps the opponents are worried that Texans, armed with more complete information, might choose something the elite doesn’t like. More information improves the public debate, whether we’re talking about taxes or immigration.

Rather than be criticized, Lt. Gov. Patrick should be commended for using the “interim charge” process to gather actionable information for public debate on a critical issue.

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 three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."