Texas Forward's 2015 Policy Agenda
Adopted by the TEXAS FORWARD membership in October 2013.
Texans need prosperous, safe, and healthy communities that promote growth and opportunity. Excellent public schools, quality health care, safe roads, environmental protection, and other crucial services require strong public investments, yet state spending over the past decade has not even kept up with growth in population and inflation, let alone prepared our state for the challenges of the future.
Texas has a structural deficit. Our regressive tax system is increasingly unable to match overall economic growth or to provide sustainable revenue streams to meet the state’s increasing need for public goods and services. Our state’s long-term structural deficit was compounded by a school property tax cut in 2006, which created an ongoing shortfall in public education funding. Changes in Texas' revenue system will be required to eliminate these structural deficits.
Texas Forward, a state-wide coalition that advocates for public investments that improve people’s lives, therefore adopts the following agenda for the 2015 legislative session:
Ensure that education, health, human services, and other vital services are funded at a level that meets today’s needs and prepares Texas for growth and prosperity:
Improve the equity and adequacy of Texas’ revenue system to overcome structural deficits and ensure that revenue keeps pace with the need for public services:
- Use available cash balances
- Use the Economic Stabilization Fund (“Rainy Day Fund”)
- Leverage use of available federal funding, especially to expand Medicaid
Improve efficiency and effectiveness:
- Conduct ongoing sunset reviews of all tax exemptions and eliminate those found to be outmoded and unproductive
- Find new, sustainable sources of revenue
- Improve openness and transparency of the budget process