Free Enterprise & State Regulation

Free Enterprise & State Regulation Task Force

Texas has built one of the strongest economies in the nation based largely on relatively low taxation and generally limited government interference in the private sector economy. Landmark partial deregulation of the insurance, telecommunications, and retail and wholesale electric markets throughout the 1990s and 2000s opened each of these industries to greater levels of competition and innovation.

The Free Enterprise and State Regulation Task Force will continue this work, and will consider the state’s appropriate regulatory role in other sectors of the economy. In 2011, the Legislature considered the licensing and regulation of a range of industries, including payday lending and boat dealers, appraisal management companies, and dog and cat breeders. However, the Legislature also repealed existing licensing programs related to talent agencies and personnel services. The repeal of these licensing programs is just the tip of the iceberg: vast swaths of the state’s economy remain under the regulation of the state. At least 142 activities require a state-issued license before they can be legally performed in Texas, while dozens more are regulated by the Department of Licensing and Regulation, even if public health is not always discernibly at stake.

The Task Force will also review the state’s current licensing and regulatory structure, as well as its appropriate role regulating apparently “arms-length” transactions and interactions between private individuals and businesses, including those between property owners and property owners’ associations. A renewed focus on the state’s proper role in protecting the health and welfare of the public is critical and will underpin the work of the Task Force.