James Dickey, Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas
Representing myself and Republican Party of Texas
Testimony IN FAVOR of HJR 21
August 2, 2017
Property tax is considered by many Texas Republicans to be the worst, most immoral method of taxation available, or on par with income tax for this distinction. Republican delegates and voters want this system abolished, not just reformed.
The question of abolishing property taxes was put to Republican voters on the 2016 primary ballot, and 69.5% voted in support. At the 2016 Republican Party State Convention, 87.89% of delegates approved the following language as one of 5 legislative priorities they added to the platform:
“We, the delegates of the 2016 Republican Party of Texas State Convention, call upon the 85th Texas Legislature to replace the property tax system with an alternative other than the income tax and require voter approval to increase the overall tax burden.”
The property tax issue is also addressed within the RPT Platform planks, and again, delegates are clear in the mandate to abolish property tax.
Plank 175 includes these statements:
“ . . . we encourage our elected officials at all levels of government to work to reverse the current trend of expanding government and the growing tax and debt burdens this places on we the people. We believe the most equitable system of taxation is one based on consumption and wish to see reforms towards that end at all levels of government. . . . Examples of these reforms include . . .
“5. Abolishing property taxes, but in the interim, property taxes should be paid on the price of the property when it was initially purchased.”
No homeowner truly owns his or her property when that ownership is contingent on the payment of an annual tax. The current system of ad valorem taxation is contrary to RPT principle #8, which states that we believe in the inalienable right of all people to defend themselves and their property.
HJR 21 gives voters the chance to amend the Texas Constitution to abolish the maintenance & operations portion of the school-related property tax, thus eliminating one-third of a homeowner’s property tax bill by 2020. The Republican Party of Texas applauds this effort as being within our Party Platform and encourages the committee to give a favorable recommendation to HJR 21.