We now know who is, and isn’t, serious about weaning Texas from oppressive property taxes. The Texas House narrowly stopped a constitutional amendment that would have allowed more entities to claim a piece of your property, and your wallet. According to the uncertified vote total, this land-grab was stopped by 44 Republicans — of the 76 currently serving as the nominal majority.
On the other hand, every Democrat voted FOR the new property tax levy except those who were absent (Barbara Mallory Caraway, Rene Oliveira and Senfronia Thompson).
The legislation in question was House Joint Resolution 112, a constitutional amendment creating new taxing entities “for emergency services districts … at a rate not to exceed five cents…” As a constitutional amendment, it required two-thirds of the House voting for it (or, 100 of the 150 members).
Therefore, the correct vote was to vote against HJR112.
These kinds of emergency services are a core function of government and should be what is funded first by local taxing entities under their current taxing capacities and systems. The net effect of HJR112 would have been to allow more non-essential spending that bloats government and imperils economic growth. At a time when taxpayers are demanding relief from high property taxes, one wonders how this was allowed to move through the process in the first place.
A quick back-of-the-envelope math shows 58% of the Republicans in the Texas House voted right, and 36 voted wrong. (The rest were absent.)
According to the Texas Legislature Online, those voting with taxpayers (and against HJR112) included: Doc Anderson; Jimmie Don Aycock; Leo Berman; Dwayne Bohac; Dennis Bonnen; Dan Branch; Fred Brown; Angie Chen Button; Warren Chisum; Frank Corte; Joe Crabb; Tom Craddick; Brandon Creighton; Joe Driver; Rob Eissler; Gary Elkins; Allen Fletcher; Dan Flynn; Dan Gattis; Charlie Geren; Kelly Hancock; Linda Harper-Brown; Charlie Howard; Bryan Hughes; Todd Hunter; Carl Isett; Jim Keffer; Lois Kolkhorst; Jodie Laubenberg; Ken Legler; Jerry Madden; Doug Miller; Sid Miller; Tan Parker; Ken Paxton; Larry Phillips; Debbie Riddle; Ralph Sheffield; Mark Shelton; John Smithee; David Swinford; Larry Taylor; Randy Weber; and Beverly Woolley.
Absent Republicans included: Bill Callegari, John Davis, Phil King and John Otto.
(Despite what the Legislature’s website says, I’m told State Rep. Wayne Christian did actually vote correctly.)