AUSTIN — Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Tuesday called for returning excess tax money to taxpayers and tapping the state’s rainy-day fund for water and transportation infrastructure.
Perry, 62, the longest-serving governor in the nation at just over 12 years, called for changing the constitution of the state, the nation’s second most populous, to allow the return of tax money to the people who paid it when the state brings in more than needed.
“We’ve never bought into the notion that if you collect more, you need to spend more,” Perry said in his state of the state address, which he delivered to a joint session of the Texas House and Senate.
He also suggested providing at least $1.8 billion in “tax relief,” but he did not offer details.
He said that to pay for water and transportation infrastructure, $3.7 billion should be taken from the nearly $12 billion rainy-day fund.
Perry has urged lawmakers to resist pressure to spend money freely despite a state forecast of a 12.4 percent increase in revenue available for the 2014-2015 budget compared with the previous two-year budget.
In 2011, lawmakers, facing a budget shortfall, made cuts to education and health care. Democrats are calling for restoring those cuts.