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Waxahachie Republican says he would put voters in charge of property tax increases

Rep. Brian Harrison also thinks education savings accounts will become reality this session.

WAXAHACHIE, Texas — For State Representative Brian Harrison, it is the simplest way to solve a huge problem in Texas – no raising property taxes without voter approval.

“What I’m trying to do here is put the voters, put the taxpayers for the first time back, truly in charge of their property taxes and so that if you, a local government, if you want to raise somebody’s property taxes even more, you can’t do that unless you hold an election,” the Republican said on Inside Texas Politics.

HB 2220 would do just that.

And his other bill, HB 2221, would require a supermajority (60%) to pass any tax increase that does go to a vote.

The Waxahachie Republican says judging by the feedback he’s received from his constituents and others he’s talked to, he feels there is “overwhelming” support for his measures.

And he says it wouldn’t necessarily harm a city’s revenue.

“I represent a growing area, so I understand that local governments have to provide for growth,” the Republican told us. “But adopting last year’s effective tax rate doesn’t mean that their revenues stay flat because of all the new people that come in. That increases their taxable base.”

As a member of the House Public Education Committee – and a father of four – Harrison also thinks that education savings accounts will get done this legislative session.

It’s part of the Republican push for school choice, and they would allow parents to opt out of public schools and use taxpayer dollars to educate their children in a different way, usually a private school.

But public school supporters and rural lawmakers have long opposed the effort arguing it diverts too much money away from public education.

Harrison, though, says rural Republican voters want education savings accounts perhaps most of all.

“The 10 most rural counties in the state of Texas, the 10 most rural counties, when this was on a ballot proposition last year with Republican primary voters, every single one of those 10 most rural counties in Texas supported school choice and they supported it by overwhelming margins,” he told us.

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