Harvey Hilderbran was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1988 and was most recently re-elected in 2012 to serve the people of District 53.
Harvey has served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee for the past two legislative sessions. In that leadership role, he chairs the committee which deals with all legislation relating to the state’s tax code.
While serving as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee the past two regular legislative sessions, Hilderbran oversaw the passage of $1.4 billion in tax relief and led the charge to cut wasteful spending and to make the tax system more fair and transparent. As chairman of the committee, Hilderbran oversaw the comptroller’s office and sat on the Legislative Audit Committee and the Legislative Budget Board, which prepares the draft appropriations bill and budget estimate for each state agency.
During the 2013 legislative session Hilderbran authored and oversaw the passage of House Bill 500, which offers $710 million in tax relief to 850,000 Texas businesses by permanently exempting those that make less than $1 million from paying the margins tax, guaranteeing a $1 million deduction to all other businesses, and reducing the tax rate by 2.5 percent for each of the next two years. The guaranteed $1 million exemption ensures that the margins tax is applied more fairly to all businesses.
During the 2001 legislative session, he authored and passed legislation that will generate over $294 million for the state without raising taxes.
Additionally, Hilderbran serves as a member of the State Affairs Committee.
On July 10 of this year, Chairman Hilderbran announced he would not seek reelection to the Texas House.
On August 20, after much prayerful consideration, Chairman Hilderbran announced his candidacy for Texas Comptroller in front of a large crowd of supporters, friends and family in Kerrville.
During the 80th Legislative Session, he served as chairman of the House Committee on Culture, Recreation and Tourism. As chairman of the committee, he authored a comprehensive funding bill aimed at restoring excellence to the state park system and state historic sites. House Bill 12 provided “truth-in-taxation” by guaranteeing that revenue generated from the sporting goods tax would be used for much needed park repairs and operations – just as the tax was originally designed to do.
Additionally, Hilderbran served as chairman of the Human Services Committee for three sessions. During that time he wrote and passed 1995’s landmark welfare reform legislation. In 1997, he was instrumental in passing the state’s most significant legislation protecting residents of Texas nursing homes.
Hilderbran also previously served as a member of the Natural Resources Committee, which oversees the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as it relates to the regulation of water resources, and the Texas Water Development Board. He served as co-chairman, along with Sen. Kip Averitt, of the legislative oversight committee for the Edwards Aquifer Authority. He was chairman of the select committee on special purpose districts. The committee reviews and makes recommendations for improving public accountability and transparency in the governance and operation of special purpose districts. In addition, the committee studied the effect multiple and overlapping special purpose districts have on taxpayers.
In 2013, the Texas Association of Business gave Hilderbran a 100 percent vote rating, indicating the he always supported small business on their issues during the regular and special sessions. In early 2012, NFIB/Texas presented Hilderbran with the Guardian Award to recognize his support of small businesses. He also received the award, which is the highest honor NFIB grants to legislators, in 2010. In 2011, the Texas Municipal League named Hilderbran a Legislator of the Year – an award the league also bestowed upon him in 2007. The Texas Association of Business named Hilderbran as a “Fighter for Free Enterprise” in 2011 and 2009. He also received the Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Association of Counties in 2011. Hilderbran was named to the Texas Association of REALTORS Legislative Hall of Fame in 2009, 2007, and 2005. The Texas Deer Association awarded him the Frank Madla Award for Representative of the Year in 2008, and the Texas Recreation and Parks Society honored him with the Distinguished Legislator Award in 2006. Hilderbran is also the 2004 recipient of the Vietnam Veterans of America – Texas State Council’s Legislator of the Year Award. He was named Legislator of the Year by the Texas Young Republicans in 2001, was the 1999 recipient of the Bob Bullock Award for Outstanding Public Stewardship, and was named Freshman of the Year by the Young Conservatives of Texas. Hilderbran also won the Legislative Courage Award for his involvement in school finance reform. In 2003, he created the Hilderbran Scholars Fund to award deserving high school graduates from District 53. In 2001 Hilderbran was Vice Chair of the House Republican Caucus, and he previously served as House Republican Whip and Communications Chair.
Hilderbran is a member of the Texas Conservative Coalition (TCC), where he served on the Board from 1991-1997. TCC named Hilderbran a ‘courageous conservative’ in 2013 for his work during the regular and special sessions. Hilderbran was an inaugural board member of the Tea Party Caucus, which was formed in 2011, and is also a member of the rural and conservative caucuses.
His first public policy assignment was service as a congressional legislative assistant for agriculture and small business issues in Washington D.C. in the mid-1980s. He later served as assistant director of state affairs for the Texas Farm Bureau, where he concentrated his efforts on property and water rights.
In the private sector, Rep. Hilderbran has worked in real estate, ranching, advertising and business management and marketing. Born in Uvalde in 1960, he is a 1983 graduate of Texas Tech University. He lives with his wife, Tracy, and their two daughters in Kerrville, where they are members of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.