For much of the legislative session, Sen. Tommy Williams has championed the idea of returning excess fee monies from the Systems Benefit Fund back to Texans-and, finally, it looks like his perseverance might pay off.

Later today, the Texas Senate is expected to take up House Bill 7, a bill that, among other things, would authorize “money in the system benefit fund to be appropriated for the purpose of returning the money to payers of the fee,” meaning most Texas ratepayers are in line to see significant one-time tax relief totaling $631 million. 

In addition to providing most ratepayers with one-time tax relief, the return of unappropriated money in the Systems Benefit Fund would also mean that one of budget writers’ favorite sleights of hand-using General Revenue-Dedicated funds to certify the budget-would also be hobbled since those funds would no longer be there. For the current budget, it is estimated that $4.8 billion in GR-D funds, or excess fee monies, are used to help bring revenues in line with spending.

There’s a lot to like about House Bill 7-cutting taxpayers a break and slowing the use of GR-D funds in the budget certification process among them. Kudos to Sen. Williams for seeing this one through.