Strategic Framework Guide: 36 goals for Texas’ future

This report on the 36 goals for Texas’ future is part of our guide series to “Shaping Our Future: A Strategic Framework for Texas.” The Strategic Framework provides in-depth, cross-cutting data to inform key decisions about the most significant issues facing the state.

In the Strategic Framework, Texas 2036 rolls out a vision for Texas that is built on six broad policy pillars representing the most significant drivers of Texans’ prosperity and help us monitor “the state of the state.” 

These pillars are accompanied by 36 ambitious but achievable goals for the future of Texas, updated in this edition to more clearly articulate each goal and the data that will be used to measure Texas’s progress towards it. 

While the policy pillars and goals comprise a wide range of topics, the Strategic Framework is not meant to be a comprehensive list of every challenge and opportunity facing Texas.

Collectively, the goals represent an interconnected set of priorities that can help guide the way forward. 

How did we pick the goals in the framework?

All goals included for the Strategic Framework must be: 

  • CRITICAL: Addressing the biggest challenges for Texas and the issues that matter most to Texans. 
  • IMPACTFUL: Driving impact in opportunity, prosperity, and well-being for all generations of Texans. 
  • AMBITIOUS: Envisioning a bold, better future for Texas. 
  • UNIFYING: Bringing Texans together to support a stronger future for Texas. 
  • ENDURING: Remaining relevant in 2036 and beyond, adapting to changing contexts. 
  • MEASURABLE: Quantifying progress for Texas over time. 
  • ACTIONABLE: Amenable to policy change at the state level. 

What are the goals?

Our aspirational goals for Texas to reach by the year 2036, along with the primary metrics by which progress towards those goals will be measured, are summarized as follows: 

Education & Workforce – A strong education system today ensures a strong workforce and a prosperous economy tomorrow. 

Goal 1: Early Literacy: Texas children get a strong early start to succeed in school and life. 

Measured by the percentage of students at or above “meets grade level” for 3rd-grade reading on the state STAAR exam. 

Goal 2: STEM: Texans are prepared for careers in STEM fields. 

Measured by the percentage of students at or above “meets grade level” for the Algebra 1 end-of-course STAAR exam. 

Goal 3: K-12: Texas students graduate high school prepared to enter college and career. 

Measured by the percentage of high school graduates deemed college, career, or military ready. 

Goal 4: Postsecondary: Texas students earn a postsecondary credential to access the jobs of today and tomorrow. 

Measured by the percentage of high school graduates earning postsecondary credentials within six years. 

Goal 5: Jobs: Texans are accessing careers that enable economic security through education and training. 

Measured by the percentage of households earning a living wage per the United Way’s ALICE threshold. 

Goal 6: Workforce Needs: Texans meet the state’s current and future workforce needs. 

Measured by the ratio of unemployed persons to job openings. 

Health & Health Care – Because of rising health care prices and relatively poor care outcomes, finding good value in health care remains one of Texas’ most profound challenges. 

Goal 7: Availability of Care: Patients throughout the state have access to a variety of quality care options. 

Measured by the percentage of residents with a regular source of care. 

Goal 8: Patient Affordability: Price is not a barrier to needed care for Texans. 

Measured by the percentage who skipped care due to cost. 

Goal 9: System Affordability: Health care system costs are sustainable and represent good value. 

Measured by per capita health expenditure and average total employer-sponsored insurance spending age 18-64. 

Goal 10: Health Outcomes: Texans live long, healthy, and productive lives. 

Measured by the percentage of adults self-reporting “fair” or “poor” health. 

Goal 11: Health Care Quality: Health care services produce positive, measurable outcomes to patients. 

Measured by the percent of inpatient readmissions, within 30 days of an acute hospital stay, among Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older and the rate of hospital readmissions, among adults ages 18-64, with employer-sponsored insurance. 

Infrastructure – Reliable and varied infrastructure is the backbone of the Texas economy. 

Goal 12: Mobility of Goods: Texas enables economic growth by moving goods efficiently. 

Measured by the total freight moving through Texas. 

Goal 13: Transportation Safety & Reliability: Texans can travel to their destinations safely and reliably. 

Measured by the estimated total cost of travel on Texas roads and highways. 

Goal 14: Digital Connectivity: Texans can digitally participate in economic opportunities and essential services. 

Measured by the percentage of households with a broadband subscription of any type. 

Goal 15: Electricity Cost & Reliability: Texas maintains a sufficient, reliable, and cost-competitive electricity infrastructure. 

Measured by the monthly cost of electricity for residential accounts and the monthly cost of electricity for commercial & industrial accounts. 

Natural Resources – Abundant natural resources have allowed Texas to prosper, but continued success depends on balancing economic growth with stewardship of air, water, and land. 

Goal 16: Quality of Air: Texans have clean air. 

Measured by the average daily density of fine particulate matter. 

Goal 17: Sustainable Water: Texans can rely on a sustainable water supply. 

Measured by the projections of existing water supplies + strategic water supplies minus water demand in 2030. 

Goal 18: Quality of Water: Texans have clean water. 

Measured by the percentage of public water systems with health-based violations. 

Goal 19: Parks and Wildlife: Texas enhances and protects its state parks, public and private open spaces, and wildlife. 

Measured by the protected acres per capita. 

Goal 20: Agricultural Production: Texas leads in agricultural production with responsible natural resource stewardship. 

Measured by the market value of agricultural output per capita. 

Goal 21: Energy Production: Texas leads in energy production with responsible natural resource stewardship. 

Measured by the total energy production from all sources. 

Justice & Safety – The Texas justice and safety systems should aim to keep every person safe, especially society’s most vulnerable. 

Goal 22: Public Safety: Texans are protected from threats to their well-being and property. 

Measured by the rates of violent crime per 100,000 people. Rates of property crime per 100,000 people. 

Goal 23: Justice System: Texans are served effectively, efficiently, and impartially by the justice system. 

Measured by the ratio of disposed criminal cases to incoming cases. Ratio of disposed civil cases to incoming cases. 

Goal 24: Protection for the Vulnerable: Texas protects the vulnerable from traumatic experiences. 

Measured by the percentage of children under age 17 who have experienced two or more adverse childhood experiences. 

Goal 25: Safety Net: Texans have access to resources to meet basic needs when they are in crisis. 

Measured by the percentage without liquid assets to subsist for three months without income. 

Government Performance – High-quality, cost-effective public services drive economic growth, improve Texans’ quality of life, and build trust in government. 

Goal 26: Confidence in Government: Texans have confidence in the public institutions that serve them. 

Measured by the percentage of the population responding that “Things in my state are on track.” 

Goal 27: Civic Engagement: Texans actively participate in governing their communities. 

Measured by the percentage of the voting-age citizen population who vote in major (presidential) elections and the percentage of voting-age citizen population who vote in midterm (congressional) elections. 

Goal 28: Fiscal Sustainability: Texas needs stable, reliable revenue sources to finance state operations, invest in long-term growth, and minimize liabilities. 

Measured by the state expenditures as a percentage of revenues. 

Goal 29: Competitive Taxes: State tax rates attract and retain businesses while sustaining government operations and investments. 

Measured by the individual tax burden – state and local tax revenue as a percentage of personal income and the business tax burden – index measuring how well states structure their tax systems. 

Goal 30: Long-Term Obligations: Texas strategically manages state expenditures to deliver the best value to taxpayers. 

Measured by the long-term liability ratio – noncurrent liabilities divided by total assets. 

Goal 31: Talent in Government: The public sector attracts and retains the talent needed to deliver excellent service and get results. 

Measured by the state employee turnover rate, not including retirements. 

Goal 32: Proven Modern Methods: The Texas state government uses data-driven and proven modern methods to drive towards shared goals. 

Measured by the significant alignment with the Advanced Data Management & Digital Services goal of the Texas Department of Information Resources. 

Goal 33: Crisis Readiness: Texas is ready to address the human, economic, and environmental consequences of natural disasters. 

Measured by the National Health Security Preparedness Index. 

Overarching Pillar: Prosperity & Well-Being – Increased prosperity and well-being statewide, through 2036 and beyond, ensures current and future Texas generations of Texans will thrive.

Goal 34: Economic Growth: Texas spurs economic growth through an innovative and business-friendly climate. 

Measured by the year-to-year change in GDP, chained to 2012 dollars. 

Goal 35: Quality of Life: Texas is the best place to live and work. 

Measured by an index representing people empowerment comparing living conditions, health, education, and the natural environment. 

Goal 36: Economic Opportunity: Texans have the opportunity to attain a middle-class life. 

Measured by the cost of living index.