Government Reform

Government Reform

Chairman: Representatives Cindy Burkett, Dan Flynn, and Ron Simmons.

Objectives: Evaluate the operations and functions of the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) and the Texas Sunset Commission, review the state’s numerous grant programs, pilot programs, and biennial studies in order to identify reforms that will re-focus state agencies on their core missions, and perform cost-benefit analyses of state spending in order to discern which state programs are most effective.

Topics: The role of the LBB, Texas Sunset Commission, pilot programs, grant programs, biennial studies.

Overview: The Government Reform Task Force will study three primary areas as follows:

  1. The role of the Legislative Budget Board: the Task Force will discuss whether reform of the LBB is necessary in order to more narrowly tailor its role to reflect its core responsibilities. Over time, the LBB has accumulated various duties that distract from its core responsibilities (the oversight of state contracting being the most recent example). The Task Force will place a particular emphasis on whether the LBB’s Government Effectiveness and Efficiency Report (GEER) is an appropriate role for it to play, and will study LBB’s record of producing accurate fiscal notes. LBB’s role in developing the state budget will also be scrutinized with an emphasis on how LBB influences policy proposals such as the implementation of zero-based budgeting and a stricter constitutional spending limit.
  2. The Sunset Review Process: building on TCCRI’s previous work, the Task Force will continue to advocate for reform of the Sunset Commission and the Sunset review process to ensure that it is meeting its objectives.
  3. Studies, grants, and pilot programs: each legislative session, dozens of studies and grant or pilot programs are authorized, often as an expedient alternative to enacting (or rejecting out of hand) a full-blown new program. The Government Reform Task Force will review studies, grant programs, and pilot programs enacted by the state that have ultimately resulted in new, permanent programs, and will make recommendations aimed at curbing this practice.
  4. Cost-benefit analyses of state programs: the Task Force will undertake a comparative review of state programs in a variety of areas, including health and human services, veterans’ programs, energy efficiency programs, and workforce development programs in order to determine how effectively the state allocates its spending. The Task Force will make recommendations on how to allocate state spending in a way that produces demonstrably better outcomes.