AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) filed an amicus brief in support of the claimant in Southwest Royalties, Inc. v. Glenn Hegar, Comptroller of Public Accounts of the State of Texas, and Ken Paxton, Attorney General of the State of Texas. The brief was filed in the interest of making Texas’ tax system not only more efficient with a less regressive impact on economic growth, but also more transparent, so that taxpayers can both predict their obligation under the law and assign accountability.

“Strictly construing a tax exemption against the taxpayer bypasses the legal safeguards that protect Texans from abuse by the taxing power,” said Robert Henneke, general counsel and director of the Center for the American Future at TPPF. “Principles of liberty dictate that the courts presume to resolve all doubts in a tax exemption dispute in favor of the taxpayer.”

“When the Legislature includes an exemption in a tax statute, it does so out of a desire to spare the party from taxation,” said Allegra Hill, policy analyst with the Center for Local Governance at TPPF. “Although we understand the Third Court of Appeals’ decision in light of prevailing case law, we are hopeful that the Texas Supreme Court will reexamine their interpretation of the Tax Code to give effect to the Legislature’s intent.”

“As the late Justice Antonin Scalia recognized, tax exemptions have just as much importance to legislative goals as other provisions in the statute,” said Kathleen Hunker, senior policy analyst with the Center for Economic Freedom at TPPF. “An automatic presumption against the taxpayer risks imposing a burden on liberty that the Legislature never intended.”
 
To read the brief in its entirety, please visit: http://txpo.li/amicus-southwest-royalties-v-hegar-etal
 
To schedule and interview with Mr. Henneke, Ms. Hill, or Ms. Hunker please contact Caroline Espinosa at cespinosa@texaspolicy.com or (512) 472-2700.  

The Honorable Robert Henneke is general counsel and director of the Center for the American Future at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
 
Allegra Hill is a policy analyst with the Center for Local Governance at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
 
Kathleen Hunker is a senior policy analyst with the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. 

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin, Texas.

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