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Profile: Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar

(FORT BEND COUNTY) – During his four years as the Comptroller for the State of Texas, Fort Bend County resident Glenn Hegar has watched the state grow to become the ninth largest economy in the world. Hegar, a Republican, is seeking re-election to the position, which essentially serves as the chief financial officer of the state. He is facing Democrat Janet Dudding on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Glenn Hegar

The Comptroller is “the steward of your taxpayer dollars, the person that is in charge of your money and is giving recommendations, advice and guidance to the legislature on how they should address issues that affect you in a daily manner,” said Hegar. “I take my job very seriously, because this is my next-door neighbor’s money, the money of the people at my kids’ schools.”

Hegar’s office staffs three thousand employees, and they are responsible for all revenue collection in the state. Between federal money and state tax collections, that amounts to about $126 billion a year. The Comptroller’s Office is also responsible for operating the treasury, the expenditures and the financials for the state.

“We issue about 14 million payments a year,” said Hegar. “If I sat at my desk and the only thing I did was to sign checks, make sure the checks are issued, I would literally have to sit there and sign 112 payments every 60 seconds.”

Prior to the state’s Legislative Sessions, which occur every two years, the comptroller is also charged with presenting the biennial revenue estimate, essentially projecting how the economy will perform for the next two years.

“That estimate is for a very complicated economy,” said Hegar. “Part of my job is to manage expectations, what the economy is doing, why we think this is what the economy will do. It is going to change, and as is changes you make sure you keep the legislature and the public informed.”

Along with the treasury, tax collection and forecasting the economy, the Comptroller’s Office has been assigned multiple other responsibilities over the years. Hegar is currently the chair of the Texas Opioid Abatement Council, which is in charge of disbursing funds recovered through statewide opioid settlement agreements.

“We are going to be responsible for spreading over a billion dollars over the years to hospital regions to help with the opioid abuse crisis,” said Hegar.

The Comptroller’s Office is also home to the Broadband Development Office, whose goal is to help provide high-speed internet to the more than seven million Texans in underserved areas where it is currently not available. Also in the Comptroller’s jurisdiction is the Tobacco Enforcement Program.

“If you go into a convenience store, or a grocery store, and walk by where the tobacco is sold, you are going to see a sign that says ‘you can’t buy tobacco [if you are underage]’, and you will see my name on it,” said Hegar.

Disbursing unclaimed property is the responsibility of the Comptroller’s Office. Companies, such as utility companies and banks, that owe a customer money but cannot locate that person are required to turn that money over to the state after five years.

“We have a public list for people to look for their names,” he said. “I encourage people to look it up yearly, you just have to fill out a form and we return the money back to you.” He says his office typically returns from $250 to $300 million per year.

“People come to me all the time, saying ‘I found $20 bucks, I found $500 bucks,” he said. “That is meaningful money, especially in these times with inflation.”


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