The State of Texas has a unique process by which the Legislature can closely examine the functions of each state agency and make significant reforms. Begun in 1977, the “Sunset” process is a regular assessment of agency operations and missions, and an overall evaluation of the need for an agency to continue to exist. The process sets a date by which an agency will actually cease to exist, or “sunset”, unless the Legislature passes a bill to continue the agency.
Despite the existence of this process, state government has grown monumentally bigger since the creation of the Sunset Commission. The general revenue budget is over three times larger than when the Sunset process was created. Many agencies—including those having recently undergone Sunset review—are significantly larger and contain new programs and increased layers of bureaucracy and personnel.
It is prudent to consider whether the Sunset process continues to serve its original legislative function and, perhaps, has outlived its usefulness. It is also important to evaluate whether other reviews performed regularly by state agencies or permanent legislative committees result in more meaningful reform to agency operations than they do through the Sunset process.
Download the full report: Improving State Agency Performance: Time to Sunset the Sunset Process? (PDF)