Vote Notices

Vote Notice 4.13.23

April 12, 2023
TFR Staff
88th Legislative Session

Texas Senate

Subject: General Appropriations Act (GAA) for FY2024-25, House Bill 1 (HB 1)

  • Author: State Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood)/State Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston)
  • TFR Position: Oppose
  • Background: As proposed, the Senate’s CSHB 1 seeks to appropriate $308.0 billion in all funds for the 2024-25 biennium, which is a 16.3% ($43.2 billion) increase above the 2022-23 appropriations. This includes an increase of 25.4% in state funds appropriations to $208.6 billion. A legislative priority for TFR is the adoption of a “frozen” budget that caps 2024-25 appropriations to that of what was appropriated in the previously adopted biennial budget. In doing so, it would provide for additional revenue (on top of the existing $32.7 billion budget surplus) to provide for tangible property tax relief to Texas taxpayers while putting the state on a path to the elimination of the tax altogether and provides for a more responsible size of government that has for too long expanded beyond that of the population it is supposed to serve.

Subject: Banning Discriminatory DEI Policies in Higher Education, Senate Bill 17 (SB 17)

  • Author: State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: SB 17 seeks to prohibit universities from using tax dollars to push Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices which have resulted in increased polarization and racism. All taxpayer-funded education should be free of ideological bents and should concentrate on education, not indoctrination. For this reason, TFR supports SB 17.

Subject: Eliminating Tenure at General Academic Institutions, Senate Bill 18 (SB 18)

  • Author: State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: SB 18 seeks to not allow institutions of higher education to grant tenure or any type of permanent employment status starting on September 1, 2023. Tenure is a policy that works against free enterprise and makes it exceptionally hard to hold professors accountable, especially since they get paid with tax dollars. Ending lifetime contracts is pro-taxpayer and encourages both competition and accountability. For these reasons, TFR supports SB 18.

Subject: Transparency for Parents in Sexual Education, Senate Bill 163 (SB 163)

  • Author: State Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: SB 163 seeks to repeal the expiration date of August 1, 2024, from the written notice opt-in requirement for students to receive sexual education, essentially making the policy of opting into sexual education permanent, a huge change from the old opt-out policy. When using tax dollars, especially with the latest epidemic of sexual misconduct and indoctrination, it is important parents are provided with transparency about how their children are taught about sexual practices. For this reason, TFR supports SB 163.

Subject: Anti-Taxpayer, Senate Bill 1057 (SB 1057)

  • Author: State Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston)
  • TFR Position: Oppose
  • Background: SB 1057 seeks to amend current law relating to the use of certain tax revenue to enhance and upgrade qualified projects and project-associated infrastructure. SB 1057 would essentially uses Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) money to build “infrastructure”. SB 1057 defines infrastructure as the George R. Brown convention center in the City of Houston. Convention centers are not infrastructure, and we should not be using infrastructure money to help Houston build convention centers. This is a bad use of tax dollars that does not comport with the core functions of state government. For these reasons, TFR opposes SB 1057.

Texas House of Representatives

Subject: Property Tax Relief Act, House Bill 2 (HB 2)

  • Author: State Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: HB 2 is the enabling legislation for HJR 1 and it seeks to lower the appraisal cap from 10% as it applies to homestead property currently to 5% and apply it to all properties, while also providing for the additional compression of the school M&O portion of the property tax. Compression is the best form of property tax relief as it lowers taxes for all property owners equally and is permanent while not being subject to being made null by inflation and other economic factors. TFR recommends that the appraisal cap provisions be removed from HB 2 entirely and that the amount of compression is increased to at least $20 billion, giving us the truly biggest property tax break in Texas history (when you adjust for inflation) as prescribed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Although there is a lot of room for improvement, TFR supports HB 2 while also recommending amendments.

Subject: Property Tax Relief Act, House Bill 2 (HB 2)

  • Author: State Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas)
  • TFR Position:
    • Opposed to Specific Amendments
      • Background: Amendments that seek to provide less property tax relief or less transparency to Texas taxpayers than was already included in CSHB2.
    • Support Specific Amendments
      • Background: Amendments that seek to provide additional property tax relief to Texas taxpayers as well as amendments that provide transparency and accountability in the appraisal process.

Subject: Lowering Appraisal Caps, House Joint Resolution 1 (HJR 1)

  • Author: State Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: Although HJR 1 seeks to apply appraisal caps to all real property, a provision which is inferior to compression of the school district M&O portion of the property tax, it does contain provisions that would exempt property tax relief from the constitutional limit and will make future property tax relief easier. We recommend an amendment to remove the provision for appraisal caps and keep the constitutional limit changed. TFR supports HJR 1.

Subject: Continuing Corporate Welfare, House Bill 1515 (HB 1515)

  • Author: State Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches)
  • TFR Position: Oppose
  • Background: HB 1515 seeks to continue the functions of the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office. Having a state office that exists for economic development is opposed to the idea of a free enterprise. The main reason these offices exist is to provide subsidies and corporate welfare on the backs of Texas taxpayers. The only thing Texas needs for a booming economy is for government to get out of the way. For this reason, TFR opposes HB 1515.

Subject: Gas Production Tax Exemption, House Bill 591 (HB 591)

  • Author: State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: HB 591 seeks to allow for natural gas that would have otherwise been vented or flared but is instead used for a productive purpose (i.e. to convert to electricity to power bitcoin mines) not to be subjected to the gas production tax. The private sector should not be punished for being more efficient so that government can grab more money. HB 591 encourages gas producers to be creative and efficient with waste. For this reason, TFR supports HB 591.

Reminder: Vote Notices are provided to both Texas state lawmakers and the general public in advance of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility’s position on issues to be rated as part of the Fiscal Responsibility Index prior to votes being taken in each legislative chamber.

Disclaimer: We reserve the right to consider amendments to legislation that may be introduced without notice as a part of issues to be rated as part of the Fiscal Responsibility Index. We will make every effort to provide notice on amendments that are pre-filed