On Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott reportedly opined on the projected budget surplus and its partial use for the purposes of providing a property tax cut.
“Texas is sitting on a record budget surplus of $27 billion… Because this is your money, I want to return at least HALF of that money to you with the largest property tax cut ever in the history of Texas.” – Gov. @GregAbbott_TX in Fairview
— Texans for Abbott (@AbbottCampaign) August 31, 2022
Earlier this month, he forecasted the “biggest property tax cut in Texas history” but stopped short of giving any specifics.
Coincidently, polling released this week also suggests that a majority of Texans want true property tax relief.
In mid-July, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced an additional revision to his projected budget surplus before state lawmakers convene in January of 2023. He projected that lawmakers would have a budget surplus of nearly $27 billion to potentially allocate as they consider the next biennial state budget.
Using “at least half” of the projected surplus is more than what Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick previously indicated he was comfortable using, amounting to a paltry $4 billion.
The Austin political class is already making plans on how to allocate the projected surplus, but many of those plans do not include using a significant portion, if any, of the surplus to provide property tax relief or put Texas on a path toward property tax elimination. Whether those plans change based on Abbott’s sentiments moving forward has yet to be seen.
Texans for Fiscal Responsibility has written extensively on the projected budget surplus and the ongoing conversation by elected officials on what to do with it. We take the position that the surplus represents an over-collection of Texas taxpayer dollars and should be returned to them in the form of true property tax relief while simultaneously setting Texas on a path to the ultimate elimination of such a tax, considering it immoral and a form of perpetual rent to the government.
Though, admittedly, some portion of the projected surplus must be used to do things like maintaining funding requirements under previously passed school finance legislation, taxpayers should demand that as much as feasibly possible gets used for the purposes of property tax relief, as the current strategy of merely “slowing the growth” is unsustainable.
The next legislative session is set to begin in January of 2023. Your elected officials need to hear from you.
How can you help? Go read the Texas Prosperity Plan for yourself and voice your support for banning taxpayer-funded lobbying, eliminating the property tax, and freezing state spending by signing up to support the TPP. Sign up for The Fiscal Note to stay up to date on all fiscal issues that affect Texans, especially our broken property tax system. We CAN put Texas on a path to fiscal sanity and future prosperity if we amplify our voices loud enough.