The Arena

Texas Economy Needs Keystone XL
Posted February 03, 2021 by Garrett Yarbrough

On January 20 we inaugurated Joe Biden as the new president of the United States. On that day, the newly minted president signed an executive order revoking the permit for the Keystone Pipeline. The Keystone Pipeline is roughly a 1,700-mile-long pipeline (the Texas portion is around 400 miles long) in a country covered with 150,000 miles of such pipelines. Given that the pipeline stretches from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast with 400 miles on Texas soil, the unilateral decision to cancel the pipeline will have significant economic effects here in the Lone Star State.

The Keystone Pipeline was estimated to support around 11,000 jobs (Mostly in temporary construction) during 2021 alone, while supporting over 42,000 US jobs overall. Many of these jobs would be in Texas and generate $1.6 billion in gross wages. According to an estimate by the Perryman Group, it would contribute almost 2 billion to the Texas economy and generate around $1 billion in property tax revenue in Texas during its operational life. Additionally, the pipeline would introduce competition to Mexican and Venezuelan oil producers who typically supply Texas refineries, which ...

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Election Integrity Is Essential
Posted February 02, 2021 by Spencer Jones

In his State of The State address yesterday, Governor Abbott declared election integrity as one of his priority items for the 87th Legislature. We fully support election integrity and are pleased that the governor has declared it an emergency item for the legislature to act on.

The importance of this issue must be considered through both a historical lens and against the backdrop of current events. The aftershocks of the November 2020 elections are still being felt, with large swathes of Americans believing that our electoral system has been compromised.  Whether they are right or wrong in their concerns is a significant question, but even more pressing is the fact that our electoral system is in doubt at all.

Close elections have been around since our electoral system was first devised and they will always be a recurring feature of a healthy democracy. John Adams famously won the presidential election of 1796 by a mere 3 electoral votes, and his Vice President was even from the opposing party; a unique outcome in US history. Despite the close outcome of that election at a time when our nation was brand ...

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Now More Than Ever, Texans Need School Choice
Posted February 01, 2021 by Ryan Penney

Parents of schoolchildren across Texas have experienced total upheaval since the COVID-19 lockdowns began in March last year. Since then, not much has improved. As the 87th Legislature prepares to consider legislation, we urge members of both chambers to pass a strong education reform bill enacting real school choice for all Texans.

With schools across Texas modifying their classrooms to meet lockdown regulations, droves of parents have abandoned traditional neighborhood public schools and chosen alternative means of educating their children. In the wake of mass restructuring of the economy and its resulting impact on the ability to both work and manage their childrens’ education, parents are giving historic levels of consideration to more flexible types of schooling.

Among the most popular alternatives have been homeschooling, private school (for those who can afford it), learning pods, and charter schools; all of which must fight against special interest groups simply to exist.

Charter schools often provide a quality public education option apart from the traditional public school experience and offer more flexibility in large part because they are smaller and more easily adaptable to change. Because of this flexibility, charter ...

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Open The Texas Economy By Reducing Unnecessary Regulation
Posted January 27, 2021 by Rebecca Willis

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the government’s disastrous response which has put the brakes on what was likely the greatest economy the world has ever known, has wreaked havoc around the world and across the United States. Texas has not been spared. Now more than ever, Texas needs to pull out all the stops to reopen the economy and let people get back to work. Conveniently, the Texas Legislature is now in session and fully empowered to do just that.

For a state that charts its own path and refuses to be bossed around, Texas has failed at keeping the marketplace open and free for those wanting to earn an honest living. Ranking among the top five most regulated states in the nation, Texas has over 263,000 regulatory restrictions currently in place.

Considering the occupations regulated by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), it may appear that threats to your personal safety come in very nondescript and unassuming ways.  But fear not, the government will protect you! If the government didn’t tell us, how else would we know our lives are endangered by the dietitian, hearing aid fitter, or ...

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Texas Action Seeks Legislative Director
Posted December 30, 2020 by Nathanael Ferguson








UPDATE: This position is closed.

We are looking for a Legislative Director for the 87th Session of the Texas Legislature. This is a full time position to run concurrent with the regular session of the Texas Legislature, January through May, 2021. For job details and to apply, click here.

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Let Adults Be Adults
Posted April 04, 2019 by Nathanael Ferguson

This week, the Texas Senate is considering legislation to raise the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. It is an interesting subject to consider, and there is an emotionally compelling case for prohibiting young adults from engaging in behavior that is well-demonstrated to be unhealthy.

Emotional arguments notwithstanding, it is our view that this is bad and unprincipled public policy. We should not make laws based on emotional feelings but on principles rooted in a traditional understanding of the role of limited government and the concepts of individual liberty and personal responsibility for adults in a free society.

Adults and children have always been treated differently under the law. Our society and our laws recognize that children are neither mature enough nor experienced enough to make their own choices. This is why parents teach, mentor, and guide their children into adulthood and hope that by the time their children reach the age of majority, they are well-trained to make wise decisions in their own capacity.

Our laws recognize that children are incapable of making meaningful decisions about serious issues which is why we have a separate ...

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Sign Up For Our Floor Report
Posted January 15, 2019 by Nathanael Ferguson

The legislature is back and so are we! This session we have a fantastic team of people reading, analyzing, and summarizing bills under consideration by the 86th Texas Legislature. Every day that votes are scheduled in either chamber, we will send a Floor Report providing plain language bill summaries and liberty-minded vote recommendations for all the bills on the calendar. If you would like to receive our free daily Floor Report in your inbox, sign up with your name and email address in the subscription box on the right.

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Texas Action Supports Special Session
Posted July 17, 2017 by Nathanael Ferguson

Property TaxWe support Governor Abbott’s call for a special session of the Texas legislature. Too many liberty-oriented reforms died on the vine when the regular legislative session adjourned. The special session which begins tomorrow will give the legislature a much needed opportunity to address a number of issues which should not be left unresolved until the next regular session in 2019. We encourage legislators to take advantage of this opportunity to pass strong measures to reform property taxes, secure property rights with respect to municipal annexation and tree removal, enact school choice for those most in need, get the government out of the collection of union dues, and enact spending caps to keep debt from growing out of control. Enacting these and other liberty reforms this special session will help secure our future and keep Texas ranked among the top places to live, work, start or grow a business, and raise a family.

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Pre-filed Amendments To House Budget
Posted April 05, 2017 by Nathanael Ferguson

Budget 2Creating the Texas budget is a long and complex process. The budget as it stands before the House on second reading is likely to undergo significant changes before final passage. For this reason, we refrain from taking a position at this time. However, we have reviewed all of the pre-filed amendments and we have taken a position on a number of those. Before getting to specific amendments, a few comments on how we chose which amendments to take a position on.

We take the same principled approach to amendments as we do to normal stand-alone legislation. We support amendments that protect the Economic Stabilization (Rainy Day) Fund, avoid budget gimmicks, and prioritize spending that funds core functions of government over nonessential spending.

We oppose amendments that inappropriately raid the rainy day fund, inappropriately use the budget as a vehicle to make general law, constitute riders to fund bills we oppose, or are predominantly political in nature.

We choose not to take a position on bills that prioritize spending between competing core functions of government, shift funding from one non-core function of government to another non-core function of government, relate to social issues, ...

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Three Hallmarks Of A Conservative Texas Budget
Posted April 03, 2017 by Megan Reed

budgetEvery two years the Texas Legislature convenes with one constitutional requirement: write and pass the balanced biennial budget. This is nothing short of a monumental task, especially this session where we are faced with less tax revenue than anticipated due to slower economic growth.

As the 85th Legislative Session grinds on, the Texas House and Senate are producing vastly different budgets. Last week the Senate budget was unanimously passed out of their chamber. This week it is the House chamber’s turn to address the budget.

At Texas Action we have decided to remain neutral on the House budget on as it currently stands on second reading. However, we will be supporting and opposing specific amendments that substantially make the document better…or worse. When the budget comes up for a final vote after amendments we may take a position in support or opposition depending upon how it is amended.

That said, we expect and believe Texas deserves a budget based on the principled priorities our organization works diligently to uphold.

The budget that is ultimately adopted should follow a few simple guiding principles:

  • The budget should be free ...
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