AUSTIN – Earlier today, the Texas Senate passed House Bill 7, a bill that begins to address the use of General Revenue-Dedicated funds in the budget certification process, and returns to ratepayers excess fee monies that have been collected over the years and not spent on their intended purpose.
The two issues that HB 7 addresses – truth-in-budgeting and tax relief – are of the utmost importance to Texas taxpayers, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation commends the bill authors for their legislation.
“The practice of over-collecting fees and letting that money sit idle – in order to help show that the state has enough revenue to meet its expenses – is a gimmick that has been around a long, long time. It is encouraging to see the Legislature finally begin to put an end to this practice and move in the direction of a more truthful budgeting process,” said Talmadge Heflin, Director of the Center for Fiscal Policy. “Lawmakers, much to their credit, are also proposing to return several hundred million in over-collected fee money from the Systems Benefit Fund to ratepayers. This offers Texans one-time tax relief, and also removes the possibility of these funds being used later in the budget certification process.”
The Honorable Talmadge Heflin is Director of the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Heflin served 11 terms in the Texas House of Representatives and chaired the House Appropriations Committee in 2003, leading the Texas Legislature’s successful efforts to close a $10 billion budget deficit without a tax increase.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.