In Texas, common sense conservatism has kept us in better economic shape than most states. The bar may not be very high, nevertheless, it is something we should feel good about.
However, there is one common sense measure that our state is behind the curve on. According to published research by the Washington Policy Center, 14 states now require supermajorities for tax increases. Another three states have otherwise heightened bars for raising taxes.
Wisely, income taxes are constitutionally prohibited in Texas. So why do we lack the 3/5, 2/3, or 3/4 legislative vote hurdle for raising taxes that other states enjoy?
Oklahoma and Arkansas require a 3/4 vote in each chamber in order to raise any taxes. Michigan requires the same for property tax increases only.
Nevada and California require a supermajority vote for fee increases, in addition to any kind of taxes.
The following states all require a supermajority hurdle for any and all tax increases: Arizona, Oregon, Kentucky, Florida, Mississippi, Delaware, Michigan, California, Nevada, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
In addition, Colorado and Missouri require voter approval for all tax increases.
Finally, Alabama has constitutionally banned both income taxes and property taxes.
In all, there are 17 states that currently protect taxpayers considerably better than Texas does. We have a chance to remedy this in the 83rd Legislature.
Such a measure would dovetail nicely with the governor’s Budget Compact going in to the 83rd Legislature. The Budget Compact is a commitment to enact meaningful spending limits in Texas. It is also a commitment to get rid of budget accounting gimmicks. Gimmicks were used in the 82nd Legislature to claim more fiscal responsibility than was actually exercised.
In addition, the Compact opposes tax increases, opposes use of the Rainy Day Fund, and promotes cutting wasteful and redundant government programs.
Legislators serious about fiscal responsibility have stepped up in support of the Budget Compact.
–Washington Policy Center findings