Wednesday, the Republican Party of Texas announced the final list of 8 legislative priorities, approved by delegates to the state convention which took place last week.
This announcement is notable for several reasons, chief among them being that the state legislature and every statewide office are currently controlled by Republicans, and have been for nearly two decades, a reality that likely will not change going into the next legislative session.
The approved priorities in no particular order are:
- Protect Our Elections
- Ban Democrat Chairs
- Abolish Abortion in Texas
- Stop Sexualizing Texas Kids
- Ban Gender Modification of Children
- Secure the Border and Protect Texans
- Parental Rights & Education Freedom
- Defend Our Gun Rights
Eliminate the Property Tax Consideration
Unfortunately, the priority to support eliminating the property tax fell short of the final list, though it was one of the fifteen sent to the overall delegation for their consideration by the legislative priorities committee as a part of the overall convention process.
This final result is not necessarily surprising, given that it is calling for a huge policy change.
Texas has levied a property tax since its founding, but its consideration at all is perhaps the most notable outcome, showing a ground swell of Texas taxpayers’ support for addressing it.
The good news is that the Republican Party has continued to call for the elimination of the property tax in its draft platform sent to those same delegates, a collection of policy positions and principles, whereby elected Republican officials are expected to support.
The 2020 Republican Party of Texas Platform included a plank that read as follows:
- Plank 178. Abolish Property Tax: We support replacing the property tax system with an alternative other than the income tax and requiring voter approval to increase the overall tax burden. We urge the Legislature to develop a transition plan that is a net tax cut (one of the solutions could be a consumption tax).
Similarly, the draft 2022 Republican Party of Texas Platform includes a plank that reads with the same language, barring a suggestive solution of a replacement:
- Abolish Property Tax: We support replacing the property tax system with an alternative other than the income tax and requiring voter approval to increase the overall tax burden. We urge the Legislature to develop a transition plan that is a net tax cut
Moreover, the draft platform also includes a plank that combined an assortment of planks from the 2020 Platform reading as follows:
- Property Tax Relief: We support these incremental steps toward the ultimate abolition of property tax:
- Dedicate surpluses to buy down school district maintenance and operation property tax.
- Replace the appraisal system with a system that values property at the purchase price.
- We support requiring appraisal districts to publish the amount of property taxes and appraisals attributable to each rental unit.
- Closer the loophole called the “Unused Increment Rate,” which allows taxing entities to bypass recently added limits to increases in property taxes.
In the 2018 Republican Primary Election, nearly 66% of Republican voters supported Proposition 1: Texas should replace the property tax system with an appropriate consumption tax equivalent.
Similarly, in the 2022 Republican Primary Election, nearly 76% of Republican voters supported Proposition 2: Texas should eliminate all property taxes within ten (10) years without implementing a state income tax.
What Does it All Mean?
Politics is not a zero-sum game. Elected officials come and go, and the political motivations and desires of the electorate change as well.
All of the 3 policy issues covered by our Texas Prosperity Plan (ban taxpayer-funded lobbying, eliminate the property tax, and freeze state spending) are included in the draft Texas GOP Platform, bolstering its support going into the 88th legislative session, set to begin in January of 2023, barring any significant changes once it is finalized here in the next few days.
The legislative priorities and platform for the party ultimately seek to work as a declaration of principles and preference by grassroots party activists to elected leaders within their own party. Whether those same elected leaders abide by them, is an entirely different matter.