The Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute’s Task Forces are the backbone of the Institute’s research and education efforts. Based on the conservative principles of Limited Government, Individual Liberty, Free Enterprise, and Traditional Values, the Task Forces develop legislative leaders and sound public policy ideas by bringing together legislators, experts, industry leaders, and other stakeholders in a unique forum that fosters discussion and debate among public and private sector leaders.
Background on the 2013-2014 Task Force
The 83rd Legislature saw many successes for conservatives: Building on recommendations of TCCRI’s 2011-12 State Budget Task Force and Health Care Summits, the Legislature rejected expansion of Medicaid eligibility, while expanding the use of managed care within the state’s existing Medicaid population. This will help ensure that the most cost- and quality-effective delivery model is used throughout the Texas Medicaid program. The 83rd Legislature also provided more than $1 billion of franchise tax relief, an issue on which the 2011-12 State Taxation Task Force worked closely. TCCRI’s 2011-12 Public Education Task Force also made a range of recommendations related to expanding charter schools and the state’s Virtual School Network, both of which were enacted legislatively in 2013.
A number of other accomplishments of the 83rd Legislature were also policy recommendations made by TCCRI’s 2011-12 Task Forces, including enhanced fraud detection and enforcement in the Texas Medicaid program, deregulation of craft breweries and distilleries, improved fiscal solvency and transparency in public retirement programs, the inclusion of “best value” standards in state contracting, as well as the defeat of several pieces of legislation that would have expanded occupational licensing requirements in Texas. Legislation was also proposed that would have addressed the state’s regulation of oil and gas pipelines, expanded retail electric competition to some parts of the state that are currently exempt, as well as enhanced the state’s smart electric grid.
These and other legislative initiatives pave the way for another fruitful interim during which policymakers must prepare themselves for the challenges that will be presented to them when the 84th Legislature convenes in January 2015. Against this backdrop of success, TCCRI will convene six issue-specific Task Forces during the 2013-14 interim to bring legislators and private sector leaders together in order to address the challenges that lie ahead.