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W. Gardner Selby
By W. Gardner Selby July 7, 2011

Proposal requiring a two-thirds vote of Legislature to raise taxes didn't pass

In kicking off his latest re-election bid, Gov. Rick Perry called for a proposed constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds votes by the Texas House and Senate to pass a tax increase into law.

It currently takes majority votes in each chamber to advance tax changes.

Perry did not revisit his desire for the amendment in his February State of the State address to the 2011 Legislature, though House Republicans and a Senate counterpart offered unsuccessful proposals.

In April, Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, won committee approval of Senate Joint Resolution 12, setting a two-thirds hurdle for any new state tax or any increase in the rate of an existing tax. But the full Senate never took it up.

In the other chamber, House Joint Resolution 29 by Rep. Bill Callegari of Houston, HJR 37 by Rep. Bryan Hughes of Mineola and HJR 59 by Kelly Hancock of Fort Worth included the same mandates. The tax-writing House Committee on Ways and Means had a May 2 hearing on the measures, though none was sent to the full House.

In an interview, Rep. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, told us he filed his HJR 25, applying the two-thirds hurdle solely to franchise tax increases, because he believed in the idea, though he also knew the governor favored the change. His measure didn't get a hearing.

"It seemed like there was a narrow focus this session and that was not part of the agenda,” he said. He said he did not ask Perry to try to push the proposal along.

We rate this promise Broken.

Our Sources

Telephone interview, Kelly Hancock, state representative, Fort Worth, July 7, 2011

Telephone interview, Ken Paxton, state representative, Dallas, July 6, 2011

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