Legislation moving through the Texas Capitol would close a loophole that allowed local governments to raise taxes during pandemics.

When the Texas Legislature passed legislation last session to curb the growth of property taxes, they included language that would exempt taxing entities during a state of disaster, as declared by the governor.

While that provision was designed with natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires in mind, the loophole allowed some entities to use the coronavirus disaster declaration as an excuse to hike taxes in 2020. 

On Monday, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 1438 by State Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R–Houston), which stipulates that such a disaster must cause physical damage, excluding “epidemics” and “pandemics.”

The bill was ultimately sent to the House with bipartisan support on a 21-10 vote.

Similar legislation by State Rep. Morgan Meyer (R–Dallas) has been placed on the calendar for the House to consider on Wednesday, April 21.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens