San Antonio Express-News: Hilderbran best for state comptroller

February 13, 2014

From the San Antonio Express-News:

Express-News Editorial Board

SAN ANTONIO — Few candidates for any office demonstrate the thorough understanding and offer the clear plan of action that state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran brings to his bid to become state comptroller.

The veteran Kerrville lawmaker has viewed the details of the state’s budget and tax collection operations up close as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

And he has comprehensive, well-considered plans for making the office more customer friendly and effective.

Hilderbran, state Sen. Glen Hegar, former gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina and Raul Torres are seeking the GOP nomination for comptroller.

Hilderbran, who has served in the Texas House since 1989, is the best prepared and without doubt the best choice.

Hegar isn’t as well versed in the workings of the office as Hilderbran.

Medina is largely focused on her crusade effort to replace property taxes with a consumption tax. The office is the wrong place for that agenda.

Torres didn’t respond to an interview request.

Hilderbran said he will institute specific taxpayer protections, including increasing the time taxpayers have to file a protest from 30 days to 90 days, providing guidance so state rules will be clear for taxpayers and making disputes and appeals fair to taxpayers

The Kerrville Republican also plans to institute a rapid response customer service policy for Texans who are starting a business.

Hilderbran said he will seek legislative approval to bring performance reviews back to the comptroller’s office. In 2003, lawmakers officially removed the function from the comptroller and gave it to the Legislative Budget Board.

Under former Comptroller John Sharp, the performance reviews were hailed for finding savings and pressing the case for government efficiency, but the process has moved into the shadows at the LBB. Hilderbran said he will conduct nonbinding reviews even before obtaining legislative approval.

Hilderbran is prepared for the job, and he offers many strong plans developed through solid experience dealing with the nuts-and-bolts of state government.