AUSTIN, Texas -The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts today announced the estimated surplus for the state has grown to $8.2 billion – up from previous surplus estimates of $4.3 billion.
The president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Brooke Rollins, said the funds should be used exclusively for tax relief.
"The Foundation has long urged lawmakers to look first to the Texas economy to provide a way out of the school finance morass," said Rollins. "The $8.2 billion surplus would provide approximately 35 cents in property tax rate cuts for Texans for two years – taking the school property tax rate from $1.50 to $1.15. This could be done without any new taxes, representing a sound win for all Texans. Surpluses will obviously continue, as they have been a long-standing feature in Texas' economy, and should be dedicated into the future to reducing tax burdens. Future surpluses could be used to further reduce school property taxes, eliminate burdensome taxes like the franchise tax, or even reduce the sales tax rate."
Rollins continued: "This is a fiscally prudent solution. It respects the strength of Texas' economy, and doesn't weigh us down with new taxes. By using the surplus to reduce property taxes, today's lawmakers are signaling their desire to protect taxpayers. Future legislators will simply have to decide whether or not to keep taxpayer protection is a high priority."
Rollins said spending the surplus should not be an option.
"New spending commits future legislatures to seek even more future spending, and the taxpayer will simply get lost in the shuffle."