During a State of the State address this week, Texas Governor Rick Perry called for returning taxpayer money to the taxpayers of his State when the government is operating at a surplus.
“Today, I’m calling for a mechanism to be put in place so when we do bring in more than we need, we’ll have the option of returning tax money directly to the people who paid it,” the Governor said Tuesday. “Currently, that’s not something our constitution allows. We need to fix that.”
Perry, whose State is currently operating at a budget surplus, went on to say, “We’ve never bought into the notion that if you collect more, you need to spend more.”
As the Texas economy has improved in recent years, the State’s Governor has doubled down on calls for lawmakers to keep taxes low and government spending at a minimum. In 2011, Texas faced a budget shortfall of as much as $27 billion; but because of deep spending cuts and increased oil and gas revenues, the latest budget estimates for the State indicate a surplus estimated around $8.8 billion today.
Other States are looking to Texas to come up with plans to realize similar budgetary success. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal proposed recently that lawmakers in his State should be more Texas-like by doing away with State income taxes. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Oklahoma are trying to cut taxes to remain economically competitive with their neighbor to the south.