Two of the state’s Taxpayer Champions are proposing greater protections against tax hikes at the state level. Senator Brian Birdwell and Rep. Bryan Hughes have both proposed amending the state constitution to require a two-thirds majority for the legislature to increase taxes.
SJR 27 by Senator Birdwell and HJR 83 by Rep. Hughes would require a two-thirds majority in both chambers of the legislature before any new state tax could be created, or any existing state tax could be increased beyond its original rate when it was first enacted.
With Texas known as a “low-tax” state, it’s remarkable that such taxpayer protections are not already in place. Even California has a two-thirds requirement to raise taxes on its citizens!
Some legislators tried to get such protections passed last session, but neither chamber bothered to take it up for consideration.
It’s important to note however, that these bills WILL NOT change how taxes are created or increased at the local level. Texans must still keep a close eye over their local counties, school districts, municipalities and special purpose districts to ensure all levels of government are acting with taxpayers’ best interest at heart.
SJR 27 and HJR 83 are considered priority legislation and are subject to scoring on the Fiscal Responsibility Index.