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Proposing a constitutional amendment providing for the dedication of certain sales and use tax revenue to the Texas mental and behavioral health research fund established to fund research, treatment, and access to services in this state for behavioral health, mental health, and substance use and addiction issues.
HJR 5 proposes a constitutional amendment that would establish the Texas mental and behavioral health research fund in the state treasury. The account would be funded by money transferred or deposited to the fund, appropriations made to the fund by the legislature, and all interest, dividends, and other income of the fund. Money may be used to fund programs to research behavioral health issues, public health trends, and strategies regarding behavioral health issues, and new behavioral health treatments, interventions, and other solutions.
The fund would also be used to research and treat substance abuse and addiction issues, to research behavioral and mental health issues affecting children, and to address the shortage of mental health professionals in this state, among other related things.
The Comptroller would be required to deposit $100 million each year into the fund from revenues derived from the sales and use tax once those revenues reach specified threshold amounts. The Comptroller's duty to fund this account would expire August 31, 2030.
Texas Action opposes HJR 5 which would spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to fund programs that the government probably should not be funding in the first place. This is a big-government, tax-and-spend approach that is out of alignment with the principle of limited government.
In addition to the spending issue, having the government fund and come up with "strategies regarding behavioral health issues, and new behavioral health treatments, interventions, and other solutions" is far outside of the role of limited government and we have deep reservations about what type of "solutions" the government would come up with to address perceived behavioral health issues. It is unlikely these solutions would align with principles of individual liberty, personal responsibility, and limited government.
For these reasons, we oppose HJR 5.