|Purpose||To promote free-market principles in Texas|
|Michael Quinn Sullivan|
|Affiliations||Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Empower Texans Foundation|
Empower Texans is a nonprofit organization focused on promoting free market principles in Texas. It is affiliated with Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and the Empower Texans Foundation. Empower Texans is based in Austin with operations in Dallas, Houston and Midland. Michael Quinn Sullivan serves as the organization's president. Empower Texans focuses on fiscal conservatism by supporting lower taxes and spending restraint.
Texans for Fiscal Responsibility
Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (TFR), which is a project of Empower Texans, is a conservative political advocacy group based in Austin, Texas. Founded by Michael Quinn Sullivan, the stated mission of TFR is to "create and sustain a system of strong fiscal stewardship within all levels of Texas government, ensuring the greatest amounts of economic and personal liberty, and promoting public policies that provide individuals with the freedom to use their strengths and talents in pursuit of greater opportunities." TFR is a nonprofit organization and files as a 501c(4).
TFR advocates for limited government via reduced taxation and greater public accountability. The group has been described as trying to "purge the GOP establishment." Texas Monthly called TFR "one of the most influential advocacy groups in Austin".
Through TFR, Empower Texans publishes an annual Fiscal Responsibility Index, which is a scorecard the group uses to grade legislators according to how well they protect the interests of taxpayers; and a Taxpayer Pledge, which is signed by lawmakers who promise not to raise taxes. The group hands out "Taxpayer Champion Awards" to legislators who score well on TFR's Fiscal Responsibility Index.
In January 2015, Empower Texans launched a project called Texas Scorecard. Texas Scorecard is a print and online publication of the organization's expanded news section. The publication's managing editor is Morgan Williamson. The print version features content from Empower Texans' website as well as other conservative, Texas-based organizations.
The group spent $1.4 million in the Republican primary held on March 1, 2016, but fared poorly in the first round of balloting. Jay Dean, the former mayor of Longview, Texas, and a candidate for the Texas House of Representatives in 2016, criticized Empower Texans, saying: "We don't need outsiders from Austin, Dallas, Midland-Odessa, or Houston coming into our elections and telling us who we need. You have the right to vote. You know what you want. Dean defeated the conservative David Lee Watts for the state house in the primary. Watts earlier obtained statewide recognition as the intra-party rival of George P. Bush in the 2014 race for Texas land commissioner.
Empower Texans made the following endorsements for the November 2016 general election:
- "Tribpedia: Michael Quinn Sullivan". Texas Tribune. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- Schleifer, Theodore (September 15, 2014). "Updated: Empower Texans looks to make a Houston home". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- Batheja, Aman (May 10, 2014). "A Big Spender Aims to Push State Politics Further Right". New York Times. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- Reynolds, John (March 28, 2014). "Suit Over Spoof PAC Ends With Apology". Texas Tribune. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- "About Us". Empower Texans. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- Flahive, Paul (March 31, 2014). "The Source: Tracking The "Unlobbyists"". Texas Public Radio. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- Batheja, Aman (May 10, 2014). "A Big Spender Aims to Push State Politics Further Right". New York Times. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- "Texan of the Year finalist: Michael Quinn Sullivan". Dallas Morning News. December 23, 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- Blakeslee, Nate (January 2013). "Primary Targets". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- Garrett, Robert (January 4, 2013). "Gadfly warns: Vote for Straus, get demerits on group’s scorecard for bills his lieutenants smother". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- "Fiscal Responsibility Index". Empower Texans. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- "Landtroop receives endorsement". Plainview Herald. December 8, 2011.
- "About". Texas Scorecard. Empower Texans. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
- Glenn Evans (March 22, 2016). "As representative, Jay Dean hopes to give voice to East Texas". Longview News-Journal. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
- "Endorsements". Empower Texans. Retrieved 10 January 2017.