Texas 2036 Report
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Policy Pillars

Government Performance

Pillar 07
Pillar 07

Texans are well served by accountable governments at all levels.

Focus

High-quality, cost-effective public services drive economic growth, improve the quality of life for Texans, and build trust in government. Many talented Texans and innovative Texas-based companies are transforming industries and customer-services in every area of 21st century life; state and local governments can also adopt these lessons to dramatically improve the ways government serves Texans.

Not every budget will be handed large surpluses. To provide for more water, schools, health care, and other vital services, Texas should ensure its revenue structure remains broad and provides stability for wise investments in the state’s future. Residents and businesses need to be able to foresee their share of service costs and plan their futures. Public expenditures should align with long-term needs and all unfunded liabilities addressed responsibly. State and local elected officials deserve encouragement and support from all Texans to make some of these hard decisions.

A higher priority is needed for state-of-the-art technologies, better data, and talented and skilled workers to spur greater innovation in state government. It’s hard for these programs to compete in the budget process with pressing immediate needs — such as education and health care funding — but state leaders can greatly improve customer-services and accountability by investing in talent and funding proven modern methods for better planning, data and analytics, information technology, and purchasing.

Texas will need to rely on partnerships more than ever — between state and local entities, non-profits, and the private sector. Teamwork is driving much of the innovation in the private sector and governments can use these methods as well.

Goal and Targets for Texas 2036
Goal #29 - Confidence in Government: Texans have confidence in the public institutions that serve them.
• Target: Texas maintains its ranking in the Top 9 among Peer States with the highest levels of confidence.
• Baseline: Texas ranks second among Peer States with the highest levels of confidence.
Goal #30 - Civic Engagement: Texans actively participate in governing their communities.
• Target: Texas ranks in the top nine among Peer States for voter participation.
• Baseline: Texas ranks twelfth among Peer States for voter participation.
Goal #31 - Broad, Stable Revenue Base: Texas people and businesses contribute taxes and fees to meet strategic needs and remain competitive as we grow and change.
• Target: Texas ranks in the top three among peer states for fiscal sustainability, top sixth among peer states for the lowest business tax burden, and top three among peer states for the lowest individual tax burden.
• Baseline: Texas ranks fifth among peer states for fiscal sustainability, sixth among peer states for the lowest business tax burden, and fifth among peer states for the lowest individual tax burden.
Goal #32 - Wisely Managed State Spending: Texas strategically manages state expenditures to deliver the best value to taxpayers.
• Target: Texas will raise its standing among Peer States in a Taxpayer Return on Investment Index and will rank in the top three among Peer States for the lowest long-term liability as a percentage of total personal income.
• Baseline: Taxpayer Return on Investment Index is in development. Texas ranks ninth among Peer States for the lowest long-term liability as a percentage of total personal income.
Goal #33 - Talent in Government: Texas government attracts and retains the talent needed to deliver excellent service and get results.
• Target: Texas improves its voluntary turnover rate.
• Baseline: Texas’s voluntary turnover rate was 12.4% in 2019.
Goal #34 - Proven modern methods in data and analytics, information technology (IT), and contracting/purchasing: Texas government uses data-driven and proven modern methods to drive towards shared goals.
• Target: Texas 2036 will utilize a rubric-based self-assessment across key functions of state administration to track modernization progress, and Texas will achieve progress in all critical milestones and be competitive with Peer States.
• Baseline: Transformation progress indicator is in development.
Goal #35 - Customer-service: Texas people and businesses can access the public services they want and need through user-friendly methods and devices.
• Target: Texas will make progress in improving digital customer-service and will be among the top Peer States in quality and satisfaction.
• Baseline: User satisfaction indicator is in development.
Goal #36 - Aligned Accountability: Texas officials at all levels collaborate well.
• Target: Texas governments have clear roles and shared responsibilities for serving Texans, regularly performing rubric-based self-assessments to monitor progress towards achieving this goal.
• Baseline: Results through teamwork indicator is in development.

Context

Texas’s executive agencies are highly decentralized. The Governor doesn’t have as much direct authority as in most other States.
07-01

07-01

Anthony Champagne and Edward J. Harpham, Governing Texas: Chapter8 The Texas Executive, First Edition (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., Ebook), http://www.wwnorton.com/college/polisci/governingtexas/ch/08/outline.aspx.

Nor is there a cabinet of major agency heads as at the federal level and in many other States. Of the six top constitutional officers in Texas, only the Secretary of State is appointed by the Governor. Some major agencies have an elected board (for example, the Railroad Commission and the State Board of Education) or a single elected official (Attorney General, Comptroller). Texas state government has an additional 200 boards and commissions, appointed by the Governor, that operate or oversee the majority of state services. These board appointments are critically important because they, rather than the Governor, hire the chief executives who run these agencies.
The Texas Legislature has significant authority, even though its members —150 Representatives and 31 Senators — meet every other year for only 140 days. Every two years, the Texas Legislature is required to pass a balanced budget.
07-02

07-02

Texas Constitution, Article 3 Section 49a. https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/CN/htm/CN.3.htm#3.49a.

The 2020-21 State of Texas budget totals $248.3 billion.
07-03

07-03

Texas Legislature, General Appropriations Act for the 2020-21 Biennium, 2019. https://www.lbb.state.tx.us/Documents/GAA/General_Appropriations_Act_2020_2021.pdf.

The Legislature has professionally staffed oversight agencies — Legislative Budget Board, State Auditor’s Office, and Sunset Advisory Commission — and a range of standing committees with wide powers to fund, investigate, evaluate, and audit the performance of state government.
--- title: "Government Performance" chapter: "Pillar 07" featuredImage: "../../../images/government-performance.jpg" ---
Pillar 07

Texans are well served by accountable governments at all levels.

Focus

High-quality, cost-effective public services drive economic growth, improve the quality of life for Texans, and build trust in government. Many talented Texans and innovative Texas-based companies are transforming industries and customer-services in every area of 21st century life; state and local governments can also adopt these lessons to dramatically improve the ways government serves Texans.

Not every budget will be handed large surpluses. To the needs for more water, schools, health care, and other vital services, Texas needs to ensure its revenue structure remains broad and provides stability for wise investments in the state’s future. Residents and businesses need to be able to foresee their share of service costs and plan their futures. Public expenditures need to be matched with long-term needs and unfunded liabilities addressed responsibly. State and local elected officials need encouragement and support from all Texans to make some of these hard decisions.

A higher priority is needed for state-of-the-art technologies, better data, and talented and skilled workers to spur greater innovation in state government. It’s hard for these programs to compete in the budget process with pressing immediate needs — such as education and health care funding — but state leaders can greatly improve customer-services and accountability by investing in talent and funding proven modern methods for better planning, data and analytics, information technology, and purchasing.

Texas will need to rely on partnerships more than ever — between state and local entities, non-profits, and the private sector. Teamwork is driving much of the innovation in the private sector and governments can use these methods as well.

Goal and Targets for Texas 2036
Goal #29 - Confidence in Government: Texans have confidence in the public institutions that serve them.
• Target: Texas maintains its ranking in the Top 9 among Peer States with the highest levels of confidence.
• Baseline: Texas ranks second among Peer States with the highest levels of con- fidence.
Goal #30 - Civic Engagement: Texans actively participate in governing their communities.
• Target: Texas ranks in the Top 9 among Peer States for voter participation.
• Baseline: Texas ranks twelfth among Peer States for voter participation.
Goal #31 - Broad, Stable Revenue Base: Texas people and businesses contribute taxes and fees to meet strategic needs and remain competitive as we grow and change.
• Target: Texas ranks in the Top 3 among peer states for fiscal sustainability, top sixth among peer states for the lowest business tax burden, and Top 3 among peer states for the lowest individual tax burden.
• Baseline: Texas ranks fifth among peer states for fiscal sustainability, sixth among peer states for the lowest business tax burden, and fifth among peer states for the lowest individual tax burden.
Goal #32 - Wisely Managed State Spending: Texas strategically manages state expenditures to deliver the best value to taxpayers.
• Target: Texas will raise its standing among Peer States in a Taxpayer Return on Investment Index and will rank in the Top 3 among Peer States for the lowest long-term liability as a percentage of total personal income.
• Baseline: Taxpayer Return on Investment Index is in development. Texas ranks ninth among Peer States for the lowest long-term liability as a percentage of total personal income.
Goal #33 - Talent in Government: Texas government attracts and retains the talent needed to deliver excellent service and get results.
• Target: Texas improves its voluntary turnover rate.
• Baseline: Texas’s voluntary turnover rate was 12.4% in 2019.
Goal #34 - Proven Modern Methods in Data & Analytics, IT, HR, and Procurement: Texas government uses data-driven and proven modern methods to drive towards shared goals.
• Target: Texas 2036 will utilize a rubric-based self-assessment across key functions of state administration to track modernization progress, and Texas will achieve progress in all critical milestones and be competitive with Peer States.
• Baseline: Transformation progress indicator is in development.
Goal #35 - Customer-service: Texas people and businesses can access the public services they want and need through user-friendly methods and devices.
• Target: Texas will make progress in improving digital customer-service and will be among the top Peer States in quality and satisfaction.
• Baseline: User satisfaction indicator is in development.
Goal #36 - Aligned Accountability: Texas officials at all levels collaborate well.
• Target: Texas governments have clear roles and shared responsibilities for serving Texans, regularly performing rubric-based self-assessments to monitor prog- ress towards achieving this goal.
• Baseline: Results through teamwork indicator is in development.

Context

Texas’s executive agencies are highly decentralized. The Governor doesn’t have as much direct authority as in most other States.
07-01

07-01

Anthony Champagne and Edward J. Harpham, Governing Texas: Chapter8 The Texas Executive, First Edition (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., Ebook), http://www.wwnorton.com/college/polisci/governingtexas/ch/08/outline.aspx.

Nor is there a cabinet of major agency heads as at the federal level and in many other States. Of the six top constitutional officers in Texas, only the Secretary of State is appointed by the Governor. Some major agencies have an elected board (for example, the Railroad Commission and the State Board of Education) or a single elected official (Attorney General, Comptroller). Texas state government has an additional 200 boards and commissions, appointed by the Governor, that operate or oversee the majority of state services. These board appointments are critically important because they, rather than the Governor, hire the chief executives who run these agencies.
The Texas Legislature has significant authority, even though its members —150 Representatives and 31 Senators — meet every other year for only 140 days. Every two years, the Texas Legislature is required to pass a balanced budget.
07-02

07-02

Texas Constitution, Article 3 Section 49a. https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/CN/htm/CN.3.htm#3.49a.

The 2020- 21 State of Texas budget totals $248.3 billion.
07-03

07-03

Texas Legislature, General Appropriations Act for the 2020-21 Biennium, 2019. https://www.lbb.state.tx.us/Documents/GAA/General_Appropriations_Act_2020_2021.pdf.

The Legislature has professionally staffed oversight agencies — Legislative Budget Board, State Auditor’s Office, and Sunset Advisory Commission — and a range of standing committees with wide powers to fund, investigate, evaluate, and audit the performance of state government.