Government

Latest Columns

Acts of war and the limits on presidential power

Our founders were both realists and idealists. They knew the terrors of war and prepared for its eventuality. They also believed the decision to commence war, or even engage in potentially provocative and aggressive offensive military action, was too terrible and momentous to entrust to one or even a select group of elected officials.

The Economic Stabilization Fund: A Texas legacy

The irony with long-term issues is they don’t need to be solved immediately, yet because they do not need to be solved immediately, those issues are rarely adequately funded in each state budget. The Texas Legacy Fund within the ESF would allow the state to better manage long-term issues, which are the greatest threat to our state’s AAA credit rating.

In Texas, libraries transform

From enrichment to education, libraries transform how we as patrons engage in the world around us by providing access to resources and by developing programs specific to the needs of our communities. In the years ahead, the services that libraries provide will be essential as more and more cities adopt aging-in-place initiatives.

Outdated sales tax system thwarts Texas businesses

Ten percent of retail transactions are now online, and this proportion increases every year, while sales tax collection for the state of Texas has increased anemically. As our sales tax collections stagnate, lost revenue will be made up with higher taxes elsewhere, most likely through property taxes and additional cuts.

The only bill the Texas Legislature has to pass

State government will close its doors on Thursday, August 31. The only way those doors will open the next day is if the Legislature can pass a budget that is certified to balance by Comptroller Glenn Hegar and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott. While an early start to the Labor Day weekend might sound good to students, failure is not an option.

A smart wireless strategy for Austin

Wireless connectivity amplifies every aspect of daily life, from improving transportation and public safety to enhancing business and personal communications. Yet Austin's current wireless infrastructure is as frustratingly clogged as its streets and highways.

Don't blame oil prices for budget woes

A 4 percent budget cut may not seem like much to the casual observer, but for a state that already underinvests in critical public services like education and health care, it represents potentially significant cuts to services that help Texans compete and succeed in life.

Abbott's constitutional wish list

There is much to be said for Gov. Greg Abbott’s call for a new convention to revise the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, ours is the most difficult to amend in the world, making his proposal more of a wish list than a practical program.

Criminalizing moving apps hurts Texas

If Texas wants to retain its status as the envy of the nation in terms of opportunity and economic growth, it must not allow government to restrict the advance of the free market to the point of criminalization just to serve the narrow business interest of industry incumbents.

The fallacy of the separation of church and state

Those who would remove religion completely from the public square have hijacked the phrase "separation of church and state," to the point that many believe those five words are found in the Constitution. Of course they are not, and neither is this radical doctrine of a religion-free culture.

Kill the margins tax

Given the potential for big economic benefits, Texas lawmakers would be wise to use every available dollar this year to fully repeal the state's business tax, also known as the margins tax.

Reform state purchasing now

Texans must feel confident that their tax dollars are being used wisely and fairly. As the state's chief financial officer, I'm committed to transparency and trustworthiness in the contracting and purchasing process.

A gross overreach in Houston

In today’s polarized society, it’s often hard to find areas of consensus. But thanks to the city of Houston's outlandish subpoenas of pastors' sermons, we’ve found something that we can all agree on.