Sunsetting Big Government (2012)

Sunsetting Big Government: How Amendments to the Texas Sunset Act Can Reduce the Size of Government and Serve as a Model for the Nation

Author: Ry Ellison
Published: June, 2012

The Texas Sunset Act (TSA) sought to change the notion that government agencies continue ad infinitum.  The Texas legislature enacted the TSA to control the size of state government and to conserve taxpayer resources through the periodic review and abolition of state agencies. To noteworthy extent, the TSA has served this purpose.  “Texas has one of the most successful sunset programs due to the broad range of agencies reviewed, the ability of the state’s sunset commission to tackle major reforms, and the success in getting reforms enacted.”  However, with Texas facing record budget shortfalls amidst a deep worldwide recession, elected officials in Austin find themselves in dire need of more effective tools to trim the size, scope, and cost of state government. With the appropriate revisions, including an amendment to the Texas constitution, the TSA could serve as a powerful tool to accomplish this goal and set an example for the rest of the nation—including the federal government—to follow.

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