Nearly 70% of Republican primary voters said they want to replace property taxes with a consumption-based tax system, according to the results of the statewide proposition on the GOP ballot this cycle. Will legislators heed the call?
Though non-binding, the results of propositions asked of GOP voters by the Republican Party of Texas serve as an important gauge of interest in policy reforms by the party’s most fervent supporters.
69.46% of Republican voters agreed with Proposition 1 – that Texas should replace the property tax system with an alternative other than an income tax (read: consumption based tax) and require voters to approve any increase in the overall tax burden.
In the last legislative session, the Texas Senate prioritized property tax reform by seeking nearly $4 billion in tax relief for homeowners. The House, led by Speaker Joe Straus (R – San Antonio) and Ways and Means Chairman Dennis Bonnen (R – Angleton), sought instead to lower the state sales tax. After a game of legislative chicken, the House dropped its plan to cut sales taxes and passed the Senate’s property tax relief plan.
Not satisfied, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is making another big push for property tax reform in the next legislative session beginning January 2017. During the interim, he appointed members to the Select Committee on Property Tax Reform & Relief. The committee is currently holding hearings around the state seeking input from taxpayers on what reforms they’d like to see passed.
The House, however, is showing no interest in passing additional property tax relief this session. If history is any indication, taxpayers will again need to put pressure on their state representatives to pass reforms called for by the party platform.