Texas Surplus Property Agency

By: Laurie E. Jasinski

Type: General Entry

Published: November 1, 1995

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The Texas Surplus Property Agency was established as the Surplus Property Agency in December 1945 by Governor Coke Stevenson in order to receive surplus war property from the federal government. It was operated under the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Initially the agency was to benefit state educational institutions, but eligibility was expanded in 1950 to also include public health institutions. By this time the organization was known as the Texas Surplus Property Agency in conjunction with the federal General Services Administration. The agency was headed by a nine-member body appointed by the governor. A tenth member, the chairman of the State Purchasing and General Services Commission could also be designated. The agency distributed state and federal government surplus property through four distribution centers in San Antonio, Fort Worth, Lubbock, and Houston. Corpus Christi and Longview also had branch centers for a time early in the agency's existence. Those eligible to make purchases included public agencies, state education and health institutions, and nonprofit education and public health institutions. A number of other entities were also eligible, including public libraries and museums, educational radio and television stations, and volunteer fire departments. The types of distributed surplus property included a variety of goods, from school desks, clothing, and computer software to forklifts, military gear, and heavy vehicles. The agency operated the distribution centers, located, inspected, and listed property, and maintained records on all operations. It also administered a federal property donation program to provide goods to needy nonprofit institutions. The organization was self-supporting through service and handling fees paid by recipients. No state funds were spent for its operation. Fees generally averaged 6 percent of the original price of the item. In 1990 the agency had sixty employees and a budget of over $2 million. The Texas Surplus Property Agency was abolished on August 31, 1993. Its operations reverted to the General Services Commission.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Laurie E. Jasinski, “Texas Surplus Property Agency,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 18, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/texas-surplus-property-agency.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1995