Proposition 4 added language to the Texas Constitution banning a state income tax on individuals. The vote was 74% in favor to 26% against.
Before Proposition 4, the Texas State Constitution required the state legislature to put legislation enacting an income tax before voters as a statewide referendum, which voters could approve or reject. Placing a referendum before voters required a simple majority vote (50%+1) in each legislative chamber. Since Proposition 4’s ban on an income tax is a provision of the Texas Constitution, a two-thirds vote in each legislative chamber and a statewide referendum is needed to repeal or amend the ban. Therefore, one of the practical effects of Proposition 4 is to increase the legislative vote requirement to authorize an income tax.
The Texas State Legislature placed Proposition 4 on the ballot in one of the narrowest votes between 1995 and 2019. In Texas, a two-thirds vote is required to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, which is equal to 100 votes in the state House and 21 votes in the state Senate, assuming no vacancies. The constitutional amendment received 100 in the state House and 22 votes in the state Senate. Most legislative Democrats (65 percent) opposed Proposition 4. Legislative Republicans, along with 29 percent of legislative Democrats, supported the constitutional amendment.
The current Texas Constitution was adopted in 1876. Voters had addressed 677 proposed amendments before 2019, approving 498 (73.6%) and rejecting 179 (26.4%). The rate of approval has been higher in recent years, with 91.2 percent being approved since 1995.