The Facts
  • In 1978, 84% of Texas voters approved the Texas Tax Relief Act, demanding that government control its spending.
  • Despite such overwhelming support, Texas’ TEL has failed to meaningfully rein in the growth of government spending.
  • Between fiscal 1990 and 2012, state spending has risen 310%, while the sum of population growth plus inflation has grown just 132%.
  • The reasons that the TEL is ineffective are many: its exclusion of certain appropriations; the measure used to restrict the growth of government spending; and the ease with which lawmakers can get around the TEL, etc.
  • Texas’ TEL fails to adequately limit expenditures because it can be easily avoided with enabling legislation.
  • Ensure that the TEL is self-contained within the state’s Constitution and does not require any enabling legislation.
  • Apply Texas’ tax and expenditure limit to expenditures made from all types of revenue.
  • Limit the growth of state spending to population growth plus inflation, the growth in personal income, or the growth in gross state product, whichever is less.
  • Require a supermajority to override the TEL’s provisions.
  • Apply the TEL’s provisions to both state and local governments.