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Note: SJR 54 is identical to HJR 147. Our analysis of HJR 147 is below. We maintain our neutral status.
Summary of Legislation: This legislation would repeal Article IX Section 7 of the Texas Constitution. This is a provision of the constitution authorizing the creation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County with specific restrictions on the taxes the hospital district can levy.
Analysis: If passed, this bill could lead to creation of a new taxing authority within the district. Currently the Texas Constitution authorizes Hidalgo County’s hospital district and caps the tax rate at 10 cents per $100. Hidalgo officials cite a growing number of residents and rising health care costs as justification for wanting to raise the tax rate. Upon Passage of this resolution and its enabling legislation, the constitutionally set cap on hospital district tax rates in Hidalgo County will dissolve. This would allow Hidalgo County rate setting authority not to exceed 75 cents per $100 in property taxes, and the ability to levy sales taxes within the district. Currently a Hidalgo county hospital district is not permitted to “levy any other tax for hospital purposes” by Article 9 of the Texas Constitution. Repeal of the constitutionally created countywide hospital district would lead to heavier taxes within those boundaries. However, it would also remove an existing statewide regulation on Hidalgo County. This regulation is not placed on other counties. In this regard, the bill promotes local control. Due to this conflict between our liberty principles, we remain neutral on this legislation.