The Texas Constitution provides that the office of county treasurer may be abolished via a constitutional amendment. Galveston County may be the next county to join nine others that previously abolished the office of treasurer in November. The last time Texans decided on such an amendment was in 1987 with the abolition of county treasurers in Gregg, Fayaette, and Nueces counties. It was approved with 69% of the vote.
In his 2022 campaign, Hank Dugie, the current Galveston County treasurer, called for eliminating the office. “My campaign centered around the idea that the office is a waste, taxpayers could save money if we abolished it. It’s really not a needed position anymore. It doesn’t provide any extra level of protection for taxpayers, all it does is cost them dollars,” Dugie said.
On Dec. 23, 2022, the Galveston County Commissioners Court voted unanimously in support of abolishing the office.
Besides eliminating the county treasurer, the amendment also authorizes the county to employ or contract a qualified person or designate another county officer to fulfill the functions previously performed by the treasurer.
Two versions of the amendment were introduced in the state House and state Senate. Senate Joint Resolution 28 was introduced on Jan. 12, 2023. On April 4, 2023, the state Senate passed SJR 28 by a vote of 28-3. House Joint Resolution 134 was introduced on March 13 and was passed on May 10 by a vote of 106-32 with 11 not voting and one vacancy. HJR 134 was passed in the state Senate on May 16 by a vote of 27-4. HJR 134 was the certified version sent to the ballot.
A simple majority vote is required statewide and in Galveston County for the approval of the amendment.
The other six counties that have abolished their respective county treasurer offices are Andrews, Bee, Bexar, Colin, El Paso, and Tarrant counties.
Four measures are certified for the November ballot in Texas. Between 1995 and 2021, Texans decided on 175 statewide constitutional amendments appearing on odd-numbered year ballots with an average of nearly 13 measures per election. Voters approved 160 measures and defeated 15.