Straus-appointed Ways and Means Chairman Harvey Hilderbran has officially thrown his name into the race for Texas Comptroller. What exactly should taxpayers expect if he’s elected as the chief steward of the state’s finances?
You may recall earlier this session where Chairman Hilderbran promised to introduce “legislation for tax reform and relief for all Texans.”
What he meant to say was tax breaks and carve-outs for corporate friends, not broad-based tax relief. He was too busy looking to help out companies like RackSpace (based in San Antonio) than local mom-and-pop stores struggling to comply with the overly complex and burdensome franchise tax.
Interestingly enough, it was State Sen. Glenn Hegar (also a declared candidate for Comptroller), who led the charge in cleaning up Rep. Hilderbran’s bill to do just that when it made its way over to the state’s upper chamber.
Hilderbran was also the author of HB 3390, the “Texas Economic Development Act.” The original draft of Mr. Hilderbran’s bill contained language that would have enshrined ObamaCare into state law by defining “quality jobs” eligible for state and local tax incentives. Pressure from taxpayers led Rep. Hilderbran to remove this provision when he laid out the bill on the House floor.
That was one of the few times his fellow members seemingly saw him on the House floor. In light of rumors swirling throughout session that he was prepping for a run for Comptroller, it became a running joke every time Mr. Hilderbran was absent for a vote.
It was so much of a joke in fact that the press picked up on the story, noting how convenient it was for him to be away from the floor every time a “tough” vote presented itself. Rep. Hilderbran must have become good friends with the Journal Clerk based on how many statements he made indicating how he would have voted after the tough decisions had already been made.
What you see is pretty much what you get with Harvey Hilderbran. There’s really no reason to suspect he is ready to shape-up and become a great steward of our tax dollars as comptroller, and many reasons to be grateful he will no longer be affecting policy—or taxes—in Texas.