Only two days into the 88th Legislative Session, both legislative chambers made a mad dash to give their offices as much money as they could squeeze out of Texas taxpayers.
As expected, they used the usual excuses: to keep up with inflation and to “help hire quality staff.” The problem with this narrative is that the percentage by which they raised office allocations was 26% (Texas House of Representatives) and 46% (Texas Senate), respectively. This is far higher than the near 9% inflation Texans have dealt with over the last year.
For our subscribers who don’t know, the housekeeping resolutions deal with a number of things, including the amount of money each office is allocated for staff salaries and day-to-day expenses. Historically, the Senate has been the worse offender when it comes to the abuse of office allocations, and they continued that trend by increasing allocations for each office from $41,000 to $60,000 per month, a 46% increase (Senate Resolution 1). The Senate usually has more political cover because their resolution is usually not debated as openly as the one in the House, so it sometimes flies under the radar.
The House openly debated House Resolution 3, their housekeeping resolution, on the floor Wednesday. The original resolution proposed raising their session allocation from $15,250 to $17,250 per month; however, State Rep. Will Metcalf (R-Montgomery), the author of the overall resolutions, added an amendment that sought to increase it even further to $19,250 per month, a 26% increase.
According to our mission of limited government, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (TFR) has historically opposed lawmakers increasing office allocations, on the grounds that voting to spend more money is always a vote to grow government. Even if your lawmakers wanted to argue an inflation bump warranted such an increase, the increased allocations were more than double the 9.9% inflation from 2021 (the last legislative session) to 2023.
In a year where Texans find themselves increasingly burdened by inflation, high energy prices, and out-of-control property taxes (due to failed attempts at reform from past sessions), it is in poor form to vote in favor of raises for bureaucrats. After all, Texans across the state cannot also vote themselves raises. Let us hope the Legislature gets serious about eliminating property taxes and actually passes real tax reform and relief this session. It should be no problem now that they have extremely well-compensated staff.
What Is Next?
The 88th Legislative Session has begun! Your elected officials need to hear from you. Concerned taxpayers may contact their state lawmakers about any issues if they desire.
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 loudly enough.