As one of their first actions in the new legislative session, the Texas House and Senate both approved resolutions that substantially increased each member’s office budget.
While House members approved a 28.9 percent increase from the last regular session in 2021, the Senate approved a whopping 46.3 percent increase. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index increased by 13.9 percent between December 2020 and December 2022.
House Resolution 3 increased each representative’s monthly office budget from $15,250 to $19,250 for months the Legislature is in session, and from $13,500 to $17,500 for months it is not in session. It was approved by all membersexcept for State Reps. Bryan Slaton (R–Greenville), Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington), and Mark Dorazio (R–Leon Springs).
While lawmakers receive a monthly salary of $600 and a per diem stipend of $221 for each day the Legislature is in session, they also receive an additional monthly allowance to pay for staff, travel expenses, and office operations.
The last time the House increased its members’ office budgets was in 2019, when they were bumped from $14,250 to $15,250 for months the Legislature was in session. The Senate, on the other hand, actually reduced senators’ office budgets from $43,000 in 2019 to $41,000 in 2021.
Taxpayer advocate group Texans for Fiscal Responsibility lambasted the Legislature’s decision to boost spending.
In a year where Texans find themselves increasingly burdened by inflation, high energy prices, and out-of-control property taxes (due to failed attempts at reform from past sessions), it is in poor form to vote in favor of raises for bureaucrats. After all, Texans across the state cannot also vote themselves raises.
During the next few months, legislators will decide what to do with an estimated $32.69 billion budget surplus over the next two years. If lawmakers’ recent spending spree on themselves is any indication, taxpayers should hold on to their wallets.
Citizens can use the Texas Scorecard Elected Officials Directory to look up and contact their state representative and senator.