SB 1835

84(R) - 2015
Senate Finance
Senate Finance

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Negative
  • Neutral


Jose Menendez

Bill Caption

Relating to an exemption from the motor vehicle use tax for motor vehicles brought into this state by certain current or former military personnel.

Fiscal Notes

A fiscal note dated May 7, 2015 indicates that there could be an indeterminate amount of revenue loss depending on the number of military members eligible for the motor vehicle use tax exclusion.

Bill Analysis

House Bill 1835 would amend Section 152.022 of the Tax Code to provide a exemption from the use tax on a motor vehicle purchased outside of Texas and used on public highways in Texas if the person using it is a current or former member of the United States armed forces, and the vehicle was purchased while serving on active duty  outside Texas.

Vote Recommendation Notes

While we greatly appreciate our current and former members of the United States armed forces for their service to our country, House Bill 1835 would extend a special exemption to a particular group of people.

The statement of intent indicates that "while this tax is beneficial for the state, it imposes an unintended hardship on military servicemembers bringing vehicles to Texas that they purchased while stationed elsewhere on active duty."

But it should also be noted that the tax imposes a hardship on any person that needs to relocate often for their work.

The role of government is not to decide which group of people or businesses should or should not pay such or such tax. A low, broad-based tax system is a transparent, efficient tax system. Exemptions, as they multiply, not only allow government to pick and choose who should or should not pay certain taxes, but they also complicate the tax system, hence make it more abstruse, increase the scope of government, and encourage people to look for loopholes and way to shift the burden of taxes on others.

If the use tax is too onerous for one group of people than it is likely too onerous for everyone and the legislature should consider abolishing it altogether or lowering the rate for everyone.

It is always difficult to oppose special privileges for people who are broadly admired and greatly appreciated; the special privileges are bad policy nonetheless.

As a consequence, we cannot support House Bill 1835.