The Texas 2036 Strategic Framework is the result of more than two years of research and analysis, focusing on the most important issues facing the state — issues that will shape Texas' future quality of life and shared economic prosperity. The framework articulates a vision for the future of Texas:
Through our bicentennial and beyond, Texas is a land of opportunity, prosperity, and well-being for all generations of Texans.
This vision for Texas is built on seven broad policy pillars and 36 aspirational goals. While the policy pillars and goals comprise a wide range of topics, this framework is not meant to be a comprehensive plan for Texas. Nor should it necessarily be seen as a final product; rather, the Strategic Framework is designed to spark conversations across the state about what matters most to Texans and how we can effectively work together to build a bright future for our state.
Understanding the Strategic Framework:
The Strategic Framework rests on 36 important goals in a broad Prosperity and Well-Being section and six more specific policy pillars. Together, they comprise a set of priorities for Texas to address to sustain and expand prosperity in the future. We identified goals that are:
- Critical: Addressing the biggest challenges for Texas and the issues that matter most to Texans.
- High impact: Driving impact in opportunity, prosperity, and well-being for all generations of Texans.
- Ambitious: Bold in envisioning an even better Texas.
- Unifying: Bringing Texans together to support a stronger future for Texas.
- Enduring: Remaining relevant in 2036 and beyond, adapting to changing contexts.
Each policy pillar has an introductory section, followed by sections addressing each of the individual goals. The seven policy pillars and 36 goals are:
Prosperity & Well-Being
Two broad goals aim to ensure that Texas is the best place to live, work, and do business. These goals cut across the other six policy pillars.
- Economic Growth: Texas spurs economic growth through an innovative and business-friendly climate.
- Quality of Life: Texas is the best place to live and work.
Education & Workforce
Texans have the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the 21st century.
- Early Learning: Texas children get a strong early start to succeed in school and life.
- K-12: Texas students graduate high school ready for postsecondary success.
- Postsecondary Education: Texas students earn a postsecondary credential to access the jobs of today and tomorrow.
- Jobs: Texans have the knowledge and skills to access careers enabling economic security.
- Workforce Needs: Texans meet the state's current and future workforce needs.
Texans are able to live healthy lives through an efficient and effective health system.
- Availability of Health Care: Texans have access to basic health care.
- Affordability of Health Care: Texans are able to afford the basic health care they need.
- Population Health: Texans live long, healthy, and productive lives.
- Public Health: Texans and their communities are empowered to adopt healthy lifestyles.
- Return on Health Care Investment: Texas has a high-value health system that manages costs and delivers results.
Texas ensures people, goods, information, and energy can move within and across our borders.
- Mobility of Individuals: Texans can travel to their destinations effectively and efficiently.
- Mobility of Goods: Texas enables economic growth by moving goods efficiently.
- Digital Connectivity: Texans can digitally participate in economic opportunities and essential services.
- Energy Distribution: Texas maintains a sufficient, reliable, and cost-competitive energy infrastructure.
- Crisis Readiness: Texas is ready to address the human, economic, and environmental consequences of natural disasters and hazards.
Texas manages natural resources to promote quality of life, economic advantage, and environmental stewardship.
- Quality of Air: Texans have clean air.
- Sufficient Water: Texans can rely on a sufficient water supply.
- Parks and Wildlife: Texas enhances and protects its state parks, public and private open spaces, and wildlife.
- Agricultural Production: Texas leads in agricultural production with responsible natural resource stewardship.
- Energy Production: Texas leads in energy production with responsible natural resource stewardship.
Justice & Safety
Texas ensures the safety and fair treatment of Texans.
- Public Safety: Texans are protected from threats to their well-being and property.
- Protection for the Vulnerable: Texas protects the vulnerable from traumatic experiences.
- Safety Net: Texans have access to resources to meet basic needs when they are in crisis.
- Justice System: Texans are served effectively, efficiently, and impartially by the justice system.
Texans are well served by accountable government at all levels.
- Confidence in Government: Texans have confidence in the public institutions that serve them.
- Civic Engagement: Texans actively participate in governing their communities.
- Broad, Stable Revenue Base: Texas people and businesses contribute taxes and fees to meet strategic needs and remain competitive as we grow and change.
- WiselyManagedStateSpending:Texasstrategicallymanagesstateexpenditures to deliver the best value to taxpayers.
- Talent in Government: Texas government attracts and retains the critical talent to deliver excellent service and get results.
- Proven Modern Methods: Texas government uses data-driven and proven modern methods to drive toward shared goals.
- Customer Service: Texas people and businesses can access public services they want and need through user-friendly methods and devices.
- Aligned Accountability: Texas officials at all levels collaborate well.
Summary of Findings:
While not every goal and indicator should be seen as equally important, they do reveal uneven success across key policy areas and help identify both areas for pride and areas for improvement. In the cross-cutting Prosperity and Well-Being goals – economic growth and quality of life – Texas ranks well compared to Peer States. Economic success in Texas has been supported by strong infrastructure, abundant natural resources (especially energy), and a state government that has maintained a relatively broad, stable revenue base and has wisely managed its spending, among other things. These strengths should continue to serve Texas into the future.
Indicators also reveal major challenges facing Texas. As our economy modernizes, it will increasingly depend on a talented, healthy workforce. Yet Texas lags behind Peer States in its most important goals related to human capital. While the Legislature has recently acted to pass House Bill 3, the impacts of education reform are not immediate and may be undercut by significant absences tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, Texas is among the lowest-performing Peer States in metrics such as fourth-grade reading proficiency and educational attainment. In Health, poor outcomes are paired with health care that is unaffordable and difficult to access for many Texans.
While these challenges are concerning, the overall picture is far from hopeless. With strong economic fundamentals and a growing and vibrant population, Texas is still very much in control of its fate. By identifying and addressing our most pressing challenges now, our state can live up to its full potential — a land of opportunity, prosperity, and well-being for all generations of Texans.
Note on Timing: Much of the work that informed this document occurred prior to the societal and economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Indicators and explanatory text reflect the most up-to-date information available at the time the document was compiled in early 2020, though changes may have occurred in subsequent months. This Strategic Framework will adapt and evolve over future years, just as the state will adjust due to positive reforms achieved by lawmakers.