Texas Income Tax Constitutional Amendment Passes Again

Texas has no personal income tax (one of only seven States to have this provision) and it is likely to stay that way based upon the results of Proposition Four on the recent Texas ballot.

Proposition Four, which erects an almost impossible hurdle to the enactment of a state income tax, was adopted by a  74% to 26% margin. [We have had a lot of Californians move to Texas, but 26% in favor of an income tax?] It is worth noting that a total of $3,000 was spent to support the passage of Prop 4.

What is really interesting is to see the opposition to Prop 4: The Austin American Statesman (the local mast of the Texas Communist Party), the Austin Chronicle (the mouthpiece of the Austin Socialist Party, founded in 1981, a year after I moved to ATX, by Louis Black one of the founders of SXSW), the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, the Dallas Morning News,  the Eagle, the Houston Chronicle, the Longview News-Journal,  the San Antonio Express-News, and the Waco Tribute-Herald.

The actual vote was 1,467,994 in favor of Prop 4 and 504,848 against — this in a state with 16MM registered voters shows how tenuous the electorate’s grasp is on things. 

Currently the Texas Constitution provides that an income tax can be enacted if:

 1.  A majority of both the House and the Senate of the Texas Legislature approves, and,

 2. The proposed income tax is submitted to Texas taxpayers and they approve.

Both of these hurdles require a simple majority.

You may recognize these provisions as the guts of the 1993 constitutional amendment known as the Bullock Amendment named after iconoclastic Comptroller Bob Bullock, once the most powerful Democrat in the state, now deceased. He famously endorsed and contributed to Texas Governor George W Bush’s re-election campaign for Governor. Bullock was a Dem. Bush was a Rep. Wow!

Bullock added another twist — the provision that any income tax, if invoked, had to be used to pay down property taxes and to fund public education and for no other uses.

In the revised situation, the Texas Constitution will be amended to require:

 1. A 2/3s majority of both the House and the Senate of the Texas Legislature, and,

 2. The proposed income tax is submitted to Texas taxpayers and they approve the income by a simple majority.

The big change is the 2/3 majority requirement in both the Texas House and the Texas Senate. It is virtually impossible to get those bodies to a 2/3 majority on free ice cream, so the state income tax is likely dead for a long, long time.

The People’s Republic of Austin By God Texas, which often votes as if it were part of Red China, rejected Prop 4 — meaning they did NOT want to make it harder to enact a state income tax by a margin of 55% AGAINST and 45% in favor. Weird old Austin wants to make it easier to enact a state income tax, proving once again that politically Austin belongs in California or New Jersey.

So, there you have it, dear reader. Yes, I know that you can’t swing a live or dead cat on a ten foot lariat in Texas these days without hitting a refugee from California, but at least Texas is still Texas from the perspective of state income tax on individuals.

Come on down, y’all, Texas is still open for business!

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car enjoying this 70F, not-a-cloud-in-the-sky convertible weather. Call somebody you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Tell them there’s no income tax in Texas and ask them how much that would save them. Then, go have yourself a nice damn day! Eeeehaw!