A Principled Approach to Government
The Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute (TCCRI) is committed to shaping public policy through a principled approach to state government.
The TCCRI was founded in 1996 by conservative leaders determined to implement conservative public policies in state government. The organization was inspired by the success of the Texas Conservative Coalition (the conservative caucus in the Texas Legislature) that has served as a resource for information and public policy strategies for Texas legislators since 1985.
The Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute has distinguished itself as a leading state-based think tank and has been very successful in living up to its mission of shaping public policy through a principled approach to government. Its research reports and policy forums have been instrumental in generating proposals that are shaping Texas government and influencing a new generation of conservative leadership.
Since public policy makers are engaged in a war of ideas, good ideas, if successful, have positive consequences. The ideas debated and adopted today continually re-shape Texas. Yet, it is not sufficient for conservatives simply to have the best public policy recommendations. They must engage in efforts necessary to demonstrate that conservatism and its core values are the most beneficial means to govern and maintain a healthy, vibrant civil society.
That is why the TCCRI rests on four core principles of Limited Government, Individual Liberties, Free Enterprise and Traditional Values. Together, they form our LIFT principles and underpin all TCCRI task forces, conference, and publications. Each principle guides our Board and Staff.
- Centralization of governmental authority at the expense of civic institutions and local government is abhorrent. Governmental power should be strongest at the local level where it can be most responsive to the will of the governed. Federal intrusion into state policy should be resisted.
- Citizens deserve a government which is fiscally responsible. Waste, fraud and duplication in government functions and/or programs must be eliminated. Public debt, except for building infrastructure, should be avoided. Government budgets should fit within existing revenues. Spending reductions, not tax increases, are the preferred solutions to revenue shortfalls.
- Taxation should be restricted to the most minimal levels, and the burden of taxation should be spread as equally as possible among tax payers. Taxation should never be employed for the purposes of redistributing wealth or restrict productivity, economic growth, or savings.
- Laws tend to restrict free exercise of liberty and property. Consequently, no law should be passed unless there is a compelling reason to do so. The proponents of any law should have the burden of proof that passage is necessary.
- The rights of an individual should include, but not be limited to, those rights guaranteed in the Constitutions and Bill of Rights of the United States and Texas. They should also include those God-given rights of freedom, not specified in any written document, which necessarily exist in a nation where the individual is more important than the state. Conversely, these rights should not negate the responsibility of the individual’s obligation to conduct himself as a responsible and productive member of society.
- Through free markets, individuals and groups form relationships and exercise self-government. The state should only intervene to establish minimum health and safety standards, and encourage competition. When the government does choose to use its power to regulate free people, it should be exceedingly cautious to use the least burdensome method possible.
- As individuals have the right to choose in free market systems, they are vested with the responsibility to inform themselves and make choices that best suit their needs. While government should actively enforce fraud statutes, it should not attempt to protect the public from what it perceives as poor choices by eliminating those possibilities from the market.
- The family is the foundation of society; therefore, the state should generally encourage its formation and interfere in its function as little as possible. Family unity and inter-dependency is necessary to foster and encourage culture, learning and long-term national stability.
- Parents have serious rights and obligations in the upbringing of their children, including their moral, intellectual and physical development. Government policies should encourage parental rights to direct the upbringing of their children, unless the health and safety of the child is at risk because of bad parenting.
- Marriage is intended to be a permanent relationship between one man and one woman and is a foundation for healthy and stable families.
- Human life is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death. Protection for the unborn and elderly, as well care and compassion for the sick and infirm, are essential elements of a culture of life and necessary for the health of civil society.