Texas has Billions to Spend - The important Question is Where to Spend it?

Tom Handy

This year you probably complained about the taxes you paid in Texas. KRGV reported the State paid the 5th highest in property taxes collected. But there may be some good news coming depending on how legislators determine what to do with their surplus. Yes, Texas is sitting on a surplus this year.

Texas lawmakers in Austin had an extra $27 billion to spend for 2023. Yes, that is not a misprint.

Comptroller Glenn Hegar told the Texas Tribune:

“Oftentimes we start [legislative sessions] with a billion dollars, we start with $2 billion, we start with $5 billion. But starting with $27 billion, plus, oh by the way, we got a nest egg over here of $13.6 billion. That’s unprecedented.”

The extra money is coming from several different sources ranging from gas and paying home energy bills. The war between Russia and Ukraine caused less gas available and increased demand for this resource. It also made prices at the grocery store higher. Russia is one of the world’s top resources of natural gas. European countries tried to use less gas from Russia and that only increased demand here in the United States.

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Screenshot from Twitter

Hegar added:

“Most of that [increase] on [oil and gas] tax is based on oil and natural gas prices, not necessarily an increase in production. While production has slightly gone up, most of that is price-induced.”

What Texas officials recommend using the extra money on

If Hegar had an option, he would spend the money on funding water infrastructure, road infrastructure, and broadband internet connectivity. Also, he would increase pay for state employees as 1000s of people are moving into Texas every day.

Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. General Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dad Phelan want to use COVID relief funds to lower property taxes.

Then the Texas School Coalition wants to improve school safety, technology, and build new facilities.

Executive Director for the group Christy Rome said:

“Property tax relief should not come at students’ expense."

Then it is very possible, that the money Texas has will only be larger by the end of the year. Inflation and the high cost of goods will continue only adding to the surplus Texas has on hand.

Lawmakers will have a tough decision to make and will need to prioritize where best to spend this money.

Where do you think Texas should spend the surplus?

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