An analysis of the revenue policy-making process of the Texas Legislature

Teresa Lynn Stewart, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The purpose of this dissertation was to develop a conceptual framework which can be used to account for policy decisions made by the House Ways and Means Committee (HW&MC) of the Texas House of Representatives. This analysis will examine the actions of the committee over a ten-year period with the goal of explaining and predicting the success of failure of certain efforts to raise revenue. The basis framework for modelling the revenue decision-making process includes three major components--the decision alternatives, the external factors and two competing contingency theories. The decision alternatives encompass the particular options available to increase tax revenue. The options were classified as non-innovative or innovative. The non-innovative options included the sales, franchise, property and severance taxes. The innovative options were principally the personal and corporate income taxes. The external factors included political and economic constraints that affected the actions of the HW&MC. Several key political constraints on committee decision-making were addressed--including public attitudes, interest groups, political party strength and tradition and precedents. The economic constraints that affected revenue decisions included court mandates, federal mandates and the fiscal condition of the nation and the state. The third component of the revenue decision-making framework included two alternative contingency theories. The first alternative theory postulated that the committee structure, including the individual member roles and the overall committee style, resulted in distinctive revenue decisions. This theory will be favored if evidence points to the committee acting autonomously with less concern for the policies of the Speaker of the House. The Speaker assignment theory, postulated that the assignment of committee members shaped or changed the course of committee decision-making. This theory will be favored if there was evidence that the committee was strictly a vehicle for the Speaker to institute his preferred tax policies. The ultimate goal of this analysis is to develop an explanation for legislative decision-making about tax policy. This explanation will be based on the linkages across various tax options, political and economic constraints, member roles and committee style and the patterns of committee assignment.

Subject Area

Political science|Management|Public health

Recommended Citation

Stewart, Teresa Lynn, "An analysis of the revenue policy-making process of the Texas Legislature" (1992). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9302800.