The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission is a 12-member legislative commission tasked with identifying and eliminating waste, duplication, and inefficiency for more than 130 Texas state agencies. The Commission questions the need for each agency, looks for potential duplication of other public services or programs, and considers new and innovative changes to improve each agency's operations and activities. The Commission seeks public input on every agency under Sunset review and recommends actions on each agency to the full Legislature. In most cases, agencies under Sunset review are automatically abolished unless legislation is enacted to continue them.
The Sunset process has streamlined and changed state government. Since Sunset’s inception in 1977, 79 agencies have been abolished, including 37 agencies that were completely abolished and 42 that were abolished with certain functions transferred to existing or newly created agencies. In addition, the Legislature has enacted a large majority of the Sunset Commission’s recommendations. For example, of the agencies reviewed by Sunset for the 83rd Legislature in 2013, the Sunset Commission adopted 96 percent of Sunset staff’s recommendations, and the Legislature adopted 75 percent of the Commission’s recommendations.
The fiscal impact of Sunset recommendations over time has been estimated through fiscal notes that accompany Sunset legislation. Estimates from reviews conducted between 1982 and 2013 indicate a 31-year positive fiscal impact of approximately $945.6 million, compared with expenditures of $37.2 million for the Sunset Commission. Based on these figures, every dollar spent on the Sunset process has earned the State approximately $25 in return.
A more detailed discussion of the Sunset Commission is available through our report Sunset In Texas.