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Senators Discuss $27 Billion Surplus, Property Tax Relief

Government

Texas State Capitol Building | Image by Shutterstock

Republican State Senator Paul Bettencourt said he believes Texas’ $27 billion surplus should be given back to the people through property tax relief — something Governor Greg Abbott has pledged to do.

State Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced in July that Texas will have an extra $27 billion of taxpayer funds in the 2023 legislative session due to higher-than-expected tax collections.

“If you have excess cash, you go through a formula, and they give about half of it back to the public,” Bettencourt explained recently on the news program Texas: The Issue Is.

“The key thing will be giving it out over time so that there’s not a big downtick and then a huge updraft afterward,” he said. “You have to make sure that your nest egg lasts long enough to give people long-lasting property tax relief.”

The value of many people’s homes has been rapidly rising in recent years based on comparative home sales in their neighborhoods. Residents consequently pay more property taxes, but Bettencourt said there is a way to reform this system.

“As values go up, tax rates need to come down. That’s the whole purpose, to balance the equation,” he said, adding that Texas has more than enough money and resources to address this problem.

“Texas really is getting 13% more sales tax money per year, which is why we have the $27 billion to be able to hand back out for tax relief,” Bettencourt said. “It really is the job mecca capital of the country. Everybody is coming here.”

The problem, he continued, is it “puts tremendous pressure on the real estate market because values really are up.” His response, Bettencourt said, is to always “be looking to control the cost of government because that drives everything.”

“If we hadn’t passed all this property tax relief legislation, we’d have government coffers exploding, and we would not have any way to stop that expense,” Bettencourt continued. “Because once government spends more money, it wants to spend another 10% every year, and then soon, that’s what drives people out of their homes.”

Governor Abbott pledged in September to reduce property taxes using the taxpayers’ $27 billion surplus.

“Texas is sitting on a record budget surplus of $27 billion,” he said. “Because this is your money, I want to return at least half of that money to you with the largest property tax cut ever in the history of Texas.”

While Abbott, Bettencourt, and House Speaker Dade Phelan have said they plan to use the surplus on property tax reduction, other state politicians believe the funds should be spent on infrastructure.

Last month, State Representative Donna Howard (D) argued against “knee-jerk” tax cuts and asked, “What is going to give us the long-term benefit we need?”

In Howard’s view, those long-term benefits would be gained by spending the surplus on “investments” in broadband, water supply structures, transmission lines, and clearing the state’s $6.3 billion debt to energy companies incurred during the 2021 winter freeze.

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Mandy
Mandy
2 months ago

So, your admitting to ripping us off while we suffer inflammation of inflation! Return our money in check form!

Terry Grisso
Terry Grisso
2 months ago

Texas needs to address the harmful effect that property taxes are having on Senior Citizens. Senior Citizens are being taxed out of their homes after the age of 65 because they can not afford to pay the outrageous property taxes that they ARE FORCED to pay on a home that is paid off and many are living off Social Security and small pensions.

Pap
Pap
Reply to  Terry Grisso
2 months ago

Well, Governor Abbott did put on the ballot to raise the Homestead Exemption from $25,000-40,000, which passed. They need to consider raising the percentages of the Over 65 Exemption.

Taxes, taxes and more taxes. The government is always wasteful with money while getting more powerful every day. But with all the lawsuits constantly going on in the country, the lawyers are certainly making a killing.

Bruce
Bruce
2 months ago

I think all the money should be used for people over 65 and veterans who were injured in the line of duty or spouse of departed veteran they should get the help and then get the tolls off the roads so the people giving u that money don’t have to pay to give it to you to. It’s time you start giving back to the people who have give to this state in way of taxes. So take care of the top 3 first the tolls then move on from there. It’s our money not urs and let the people decide . Meaning the people who pay taxes.

Mandy
Mandy
Reply to  Bruce
2 months ago

Veterans pay home taxes at a reduced rate, if at all.

Renee S.
Renee S.
2 months ago

When a homeowner turns 65 the school taxes should be completely taken off the property taxes not FROZEN. We have paid our fair share. As stated below people are getting taxed out of their homes. We have supported this state for years, time to give back.

Mandy
Mandy
Reply to  Renee S.
2 months ago

I never had children. Why should I have to pay school taxes?

Alan
Alan
2 months ago

I think all the money should be refunded back to Texans in one time payment.. 27 billion and growing surplus is our money and equals more than $900.00 for every man woman and child in Texas. Sending the money back to Texans would help reduce the sting of raising prices but would also be returned by the government in increased the boost in economic growth and tax revenue.

Mandy
Mandy
Reply to  Alan
2 months ago

Why should children receive A refund? Did they pay taxes? It’s the single people like myself that carry this Country, and it is downright abusive. I don’t have children. I pay a higher tax bracket and school taxes! What do I get out of paying more taxes than a husband and wife with kids?