Ahead of the 2023 legislative session, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (TFR) released their Texas Prosperity Plan, a three-step initiative aiming to “go on offense” and halt the growth of Texas’ government.

In their plan, TFR lays out three steps they believe will help restrict excessive spending while also reducing the size of Texas’ government. The steps included are: banning taxpayer-funded lobbying, eliminating the property tax, and adopting a “no-growth” budget.

The organization highlighted how local governments and school districts hire corporate lobbyists with taxpayer dollars. The lobbyists then encourage lawmakers to pass legislation increasing state funding for those entities, which leads to tax increases for Texans. TFR explained why they believe the practice is “a massive conflict of interest.”

“This would be akin to hiring the fox to design the security for your hen house and take care of the chickens,” wrote TFR. “In the same way that it is in the foxes’ nature to eat the chickens, it is in a lobbyist’s nature to support their client and take more of your tax dollars. We say, fire the fox and have the farmer design the security!”

The plan’s second step proposes eliminating property taxes for all Texans. According to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the state’s property taxes have risen by 181 percent over the past two decades. TFR proposes the Texas Legislature use this session’s $25 billion surplus to replace funds typically collected through property taxes.

The last step of the Texas Prosperity Plan encourages the state to adopt a “no-growth” budget, which would prevent Texas’ yearly budget from growing beyond its current amount. Although the Legislature recently passed new budget guidelines based on population and inflation, TFR explained how limiting the budget would stop excessive spending and lead to lawmakers eliminating unnecessary initiatives.

“To fix a bloated government, we must cut the size and scope of government down to a size that’s both manageable and reasonable as the founders originally intended,” wrote TFR. “Texans for Fiscal Responsibility believes the best way to do this is by capping our budget where it currently sits and encouraging lawmakers to cut wasteful agencies and programs.”

With the 2023 legislative session fast approaching, TFR President Tim Hardin stressed the Texas Prosperity Plan’s necessity and highlighted Texans’ struggles with excessive taxation.

“For too long, conservatives in Texas have been playing defense when it comes to fiscal policy,” said Hardin. “We have been content with slowing the growth of property taxes, which have increased nearly 200 percent in the last 20 years. It is the same story with our budget. As policymakers continue to tell us to be happy that they have capped growth and ‘slowed it down,’ taxpayers have been told they should be content with the ‘historic reforms’ passed as they slowly drown in taxes.”

Hardin also described TFR’s 2023 strategy and called for other concerned Texas taxpayers to support the Texas Prosperity Plan.

“We will be focusing on these three policy changes going into the legislative session in 2023 and have decided it is time to go on offense,” said Hardin. “We hope taxpayers that are tired of the status quo come along beside us and hold our lawmakers in Austin accountable.”

Katy Marshall

Katy graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.