In a press conference in the Texas Capitol on Wednesday, the Texas Freedom Caucus released its legislative priorities for the 88th Legislative Session.
For readers who might not know, the Texas Freedom Caucus is a group of conservative lawmakers (in the Texas House of Representatives) who seek to “amplify the voice of liberty-minded, grassroots Texans who want bold action” across the state. On their website, they lay out their mission statement and normal operating procedures:
We recognize that the United States was founded upon the truth that our unalienable rights are given to us by God, that government is instituted by God to protect those rights while deriving its authority from the people, and that the U.S. and Texas Constitutions are the guiding limits on government action. Recognizing this truth, the Texas Freedom Caucus is founded in the Texas House of Representatives with a mission to amplify the voice of liberty-minded, grassroots Texans who want bold action to protect life, strengthen families, defend the U.S. and Texas Bills of Rights, restrain government, and revitalize personal and economic freedoms in the State of Texas.
The Texas Freedom Caucus shall advance its purposes through means such as:
- Coordinating directly with grassroots leaders and citizens in Texas;
- Supporting individual Caucus members with legislative research and planning resources;
- Working with liberty-minded members of the Texas Senate;
- Supporting or opposing policy initiatives or legislation; and
- Messaging in the public arena.
Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (TFR) Taxpayer Champion and Texas Freedom Caucus Chairman State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) opened the press conference by invoking the problems with the Biden administration before quickly moving to problems at the Texas-Mexico border. He then asked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to declare an invasion under the Texas Constitution. Shortly after, many of the caucus members presented the 10 legislative priorities laid out below:
- MAXIMUM PROPERTY TAX RELIEF
- A large cut in school district maintenance & operations property taxes with the goal of elimination
- Reform the property tax appraisal process by lowering appraisal caps
- SECURE THE BORDER
- Declare an invasion and provide resources to the governor to take bold action under the U.S. and Texas Constitutions to actually prevent illegal border crossings and expel illegal crossers
- Establish a permanent Texas Border Defense Corp
- Fund and finish a border wall, and implement the Texas version of Title 42 for public health
- EXPAND EDUCATIONAL FREEDOM & END WOKE INDOCTRINATION
- Parental choice in education with funding following the student
- Expand vocational skills training in schools
- Grant authority to the State Board of Education over content in instructional materials
- Prohibit men from competing against women in collegiate sports
- End woke indoctrination, and defund ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives
- PROTECT TEXAS CHILDREN
- Ban abusive gender procedures on minors
- Remove pornographic materials from school libraries, and ensure age safeguards in public libraries
- Require 18 and up age verification for pornographic internet sites
- Bolster school safety to address shooting incidents, and violent or disruptive students in the classroom
- DEFEND THE SANCTITY OF LIFE
- Abolish the distribution of abortion pills in Texas
- Stop those aiding and abetting out-of-state abortions by enforcing Texas law
- Reform the 10-Day-Rule to ensure end-of-life protections
- Lower costs of adoptions
- SECURE THE GRID & OPPOSE ESG POLICIES
- Expand thermal electrical generation, including natural gas, nuclear, and geothermal sources
- Reject ESG “social credit” policies that choke oil and gas development
- Oppose subsidies for unreliable wind and solar projects
- PROTECT SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS
- Oppose red flag laws, and gun databases created by banks and credit card companies
- Automatic reciprocity with other states for handgun licenses
- INCREASE ELECTION INTEGRITY
- Restore the felony penalty for voter fraud
- Establish alternative methods to prosecute voter fraud when progressive DAs refuse
- Strengthen the enforcement of election laws
- RESTORE SEPARATION OF POWERS
- Repeal the statutes allowing the governor to create a crime through the Emergency Management Plan
- Give citizens standing in court to challenge disaster orders which deprive them of rights or property
- Ban counties and cities from imposing vaccine and mask mandates, or closing businesses
- HEALTH CARE AFFORDABILITY & MEDICAL FREEDOM
- Prioritize price transparency, and affordability through competition
- Ensure that vaccine laws guarantee personal choice and informed consent
TFR would like to highlight the Freedom Caucus’ plan for property tax elimination.
State Rep. Carrie Isaac (R-Dripping Springs), a freshman lawmaker this session, made property tax reform a central part of her campaign this last election cycle. She went over the plan to eliminate the school maintenance & operations (M&O) property tax through the use of the $32.6 billion budget surplus to compress rates, leading Texas taxpayers on a path toward the elimination of that portion of the property tax.
Schaefer is carrying legislation (HB 1030) that would use 90% of the budget surplus to pay down M&O until rates were compressed to zero (eliminating them and moving funding to the General Revenue portion of the state budget).
Ellen Troxclair (R-Austin) and Matt Shaheen (R-Plano) are carrying similar legislation. Taxpayer Champion Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) has the strongest piece of legislation so far in the Texas House, which TFR highlighted in a previous article.
As many of our subscribers know, this is the first step in TFR’s Texas Prosperity Plan: to eliminate all property taxes for Texans and restore private property ownership. We are encouraged to see the Freedom Caucus take up this banner.
The Freedom Caucus has grown to 12 members, which can be a formidable voting block in a House comprised of 150 lawmakers. TFR supports the Texas House Freedom Caucus’ goals of fiscal responsibility and limited government, and we hope for many victories on behalf of grassroots activists across the state. If you are interested in the goals of the Freedom Caucus, we encourage you to visit their website to find out more!
What Is Next?
With committees now assigned in both chambers of the Texas Legislature, expect an increasing number of bills to be filed by lawmakers, many of which will be related to their own committee assignments. It can also be expected that the legislative priorities of each chamber’s leadership will be made clear in the coming weeks.
How can you help? Go read the Texas Prosperity Plan for yourself and voice your support for banning taxpayer-funded lobbying, eliminating the property tax, and freezing state spending by signing up to support the TPP. Sign up for The Fiscal Note to stay up to date on all fiscal issues that affect Texans, especially our broken property tax system. We CAN put Texas on a path to fiscal sanity and future prosperity if we amplify our voices loudly enough.