Constitutional amendment to prohibit wealth or net worth taxes in Texas headed to November ballot

The Texas Legislature voted to send a constitutional amendment to prohibit any future legislation from enacting a wealth or net worth tax.

​​This amendment was introduced as House Joint Resolution 132 on March 13, 2023. On May 2, the state House passed HJR 132 by a vote of 101-45 with four not voting. All Republicans in the state House and 16 Democrats voted in favor of the amendment. On May, 19, the state Senate passed HJR 132 by a vote of 22-9. Three Democrats joined the Republican Senate majority.

State Rep. Cole Hefner (R-5) authored the proposal. In the statement of purpose for the amendment, Rep. Hefner said, “[The amendment] would allow the people of Texas to decide whether or not they want a direct say in the possibility of a net worth tax being imposed by the legislature.”

Every Texan and the Texas American Federation of Teachers registered in opposition to the amendment. No organizations registered in support of the amendment.

According to Business Insider, eight states— California, Connecticut, Illinois, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, and Washington—had introduced some form of wealth tax legislation during their respective 2023 legislative sessions.

In 2019, Texans approved Proposition 4, which added a provision to the state constitution prohibiting the state from levying a personal income tax. It was approved with 74.4% of the vote. Texans had also previously prohibited the state from levying a personal income tax without voter approval with the passage of a constitutional amendment in 1993.

During the Texas 2023 legislative session, 297 constitutional amendments were filed. As of May 21, eight amendments were certified to appear on statewide ballots in November. Including the eight certified measures, 47 amendments received a vote by at least one chamber. Between 1985 and 2021, an average of 14 measures appeared on statewide ballots in odd-numbered years. The state legislature is set to adjourn on May 29.

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