Texas Score Card *** In Their Own Words: Texas GOP House Reps on $27B Surplus
After Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Texas will have a nearly $27 billion budget surplus this upcoming legislative session, Texas Scorecard reached out to all 84 Republican members of the Texas House and asked how they plan to allocate the surplus.
Historically, Texas lawmakers have returned very little in surplus funds to the average Texan. Therefore, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility is calling for lawmakers to return the surplus to taxpayers via property tax relief, as Texans are now battling ongoing inflation amid a property tax burden increase of 181 percent over the past 20 years.
Of the 84 Republican members of the Texas House, six responded to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry with plans to return the funds to Texas taxpayers. Their responses can be read below.
Jeff Cason (Bedford)
“Return all of it to Texas taxpayers…. After all, it’s their money.”
Gary Gates (Rosenberg)
“Give 100% back to the taxpayers. This surplus was not planned. Texas is blessed with the greatest economy in the world. Before last session, we expected a shortfall. But because Texas was one of the first states to open up after COVID lockdowns, we roared back economically. The free stimulus money that the federal government (inappropriately gave out) gave a boost to Texas. We used billions of those funds to fund unemployment insurance, schools, local governments, etc.
“Now people and property owners are continuing to face unprecedented property tax increases.
“1) Put the Business Franchise tax on a 5-year plan to be eliminated.
“2) Use the rest to pay down local school taxes to be applied to all residential property owners so that homeowners and renters can benefit.”
Brian Harrison (Midlothian)
“The surplus should go back to the taxpayers, through property tax reductions or other relief. It should not be used to grow government. It’s taxpayer money, and I want them to have it back.”
Matt Schaefer (Tyler)
“The maximum amount possible should be returned to taxpayers, preferably as property tax relief. The spending limit calculations will be a critical constraint because tax relief above a certain amount will require a supermajority vote for passage. This means Democrats may have great influence depending on how tax relief is structured. Consideration should also be given to paying down debt, or reducing unfunded liabilities which represent future taxation.”
Bryan Slaton (Royse City)
“The extra $27 billion in state revenue didn’t just appear out of nowhere. It came from Texas taxpayers. That money belongs to them. In this time of economic uncertainty and skyrocketing property taxes, we should be looking to return their money to them in the form of real property tax relief. We need to be looking to cut spending and actually show Texans that we are not tone-deaf.”
James White (Hillister)
“The vast majority of this surplus in accordance with statute and constitutional provisions must be for property tax relief because this helps EVERYBODY, owners, renters, residential and commercial. It keeps money in all taxpayers’ pockets.”
Notably, State Rep. Jared Patterson (R–Frisco) responded to Texas Scorecard’s inquiry to say, “Rep. Patterson has decided not to move forward with an interview or comment at this time.”
Concerned citizens can utilize Texas Scorecard’s elected officials directory to contact their representatives regarding the $27 billion surplus.