Comptroller of Public Accounts: 1975-1991
In 1975 Bob Bullock became Comptroller of Public Accounts, a position he proudly held for four terms. As comptroller, Bullock's primary responsibilities were to collect tax revenue owed to the State of Texas, provide statements of the previous fiscal year and estimate current and future revenue. The comptroller certifies the amount of funds that the Legislature is allowed to use and they cannot, by law, use more.
"Bullock runs one of the few efficient operations in government. It's the best place to learn about real administration." - Garry Mauro
Although he gained a reputation for sometimes being abrasive and insensitive, he was highly respected even by those who disagreed with his methods. He has been credited with completely overhauling and transforming the comptroller’s office by making it more efficient. Many argued that he turned it into one of the best – if not the best – run departments in the state.
One of Bullock's first priorities after being elected Comptroller was to crack down on business owners who had not paid their state sales taxes. This crack down led to his infamous and much feared “Bullock Raiders,” the term given to the individuals who visited businesses known to have delinquent accounts.
Bullock cared deeply for Texas’ wellbeing and often worked inhumanly long hours to ensure he was doing everything in his power to make it the best state possible. While Comptroller, Bullock made it a prerogative to actively recruit and hire women and minorities, he incorporated the newest computer technology which substantially increased the department’s productivity, he aggressively pursued the collection of delinquent sales tax from business owners giving rise to the much feared “Bullock’s Raiders” and he advocated for better water and sewer service for the economically depressed colonias along the Texas border, an effort he continued as Lieutenant Governor.
Bullock interviewed by a TV crew outside a Texas electronics store during a raid.
While reminiscing about his experiences working for Bullock, Bill Aleshire described how Bullock “gave us hope that if you can take something that old-fashioned, shake it up and make it work, it could be done elsewhere.”
“When you got a zinger, you knew he was personally interested. He would use them to let you know when he was unhappy with you, or that you had done a particularly good job on something. Either way, it would make or break your day to get one." - Former Bullock employee
Bullock's efforts in hiring women and minorities to make the comptroller's office more equally representative of the state's demographics was applauded and considered one of his greatest achievements during his time as Comptroller.