TFR Statement on Conference Committee Report for HB 1 – General Appropriations Act

May 25, 2023
TFR Staff
88th Legislative Session, Corporate Welfare, Property Tax, Spending, State Budget

With only a few days left of the ongoing 88th Legislative Session, state lawmakers have presented a Conference Committee Report for House Bill 1 that represents perhaps the largest increase in spending in Texas history; it is certainly the biggest since 2003. Voting in favor of the Conference Committee Report to House Bill 1 is a vote to greatly expand the size and scope of the Texas government. Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (TFR) raised alarms over the initial consideration of House Bill 1 in the Texas House of Representatives when the all-funds amount was nearly $303 billion, representing a 14.3% ($37.8 billion) increase over appropriations made in the previous biennium. TFR raised alarms over the consideration of the revised version to House Bill 1 in the Texas Senate when the all-funds amount grew to $308 billion, representing a 16.3% ($43.2 billion) increase over appropriations made in the previous biennium. Appropriators have decided that those increases were not enough to satiate their thirst to grow government even further, and instead have proposed a final version of the state budget for the next biennium that includes a total of over $321 billion, representing a 21.3% ($56.5 billion) increase over appropriations made in the previous biennium.

This legislative session lawmakers faced a historic opportunity with a record budget surplus of nearly $33 billion, representing an overcollection of taxpayer dollars (plus another $30 billion or so in increased revenue over the next two years). While lawmakers could have returned this to taxpayers by providing tangible and lasting property tax relief thereby providing a path to the tax’s overall elimination, they instead have proposed perhaps the largest increase in spending in Texas history, the potential revival of the biggest corporate welfare boondoggle in Texas history, increased bureaucrat salaries and their own pensions, and overly funded our woke higher education system and unaccountable government schools.  The property tax relief that has steadily improved throughout the session due to taxpayer pressure still falls short of the promised “largest property tax cut in Texas history”. 

Taxpayers simply deserve better.  

Dozens of lawmakers that proclaim to be champions for limited government are about to grow Texas government more than it has ever grown in the history of our great state, all while leaving well over $10 billion in surplus dollars being unused for tax relief. The massive budget should be the easiest NAY vote conservative lawmakers will ever take.