If his first interim charges are any indication, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick might be looking for ways eliminate crony capitalist programs in the next legislative session.
Interim charges are assigned to House and Senate committees at the discretion of the speaker of the house and lieutenant governor respectively. Practically speaking, they direct committees to study certain policy proposals or monitor recently enacted policy changes while the legislature is not in session. Those directives serve as a preview for what House and Senate leadership will push for when they come back to Austin.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick today charted the Senate Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee to evaluate the necessity of programs currently used to support economic development in Texas, including “the reduction or elimination of ineffective programs.”
That includes such programs as the Texas Enterprise Fund, Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, and the Major Events Trust Fund. Those programs (amongst others) are often criticized by taxpayers for their practice of picking winners and losers in the marketplace, as well as their general ineffectiveness and lack of accountability.
Leaving room for committee members to make their own recommendations for which programs should go, such a charge serves as a signal of Patrick’s priorities to the Senate body and to citizens as a whole.
A full list of Lt. Gov. Patrick’s first interim charges can be found here.
House Speaker Joe Straus has yet to release his first set of charges.