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Texas voters have approved a constitutional amendment that abolishes a controversial trailer tax that was mistakenly written into state law, contradicting the intent of a 2001 ballot measure that was supposed to exempt travel trailers from various taxing authorities.
Sixty two percent of the 1,355,366 Texas voters who participated in the Sept. 13 election approved the amendment, while 37.6% were opposed, according to Jonathan Black, a spokesman for the Texas Secretary of State’s Office.
“This is a real victory for all RV enthusiasts in Texas,” said Brian Schaeffer, executive director of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), which worked with the Escapees RV Club and the Texas RV Association to overturn the trailer tax. The Good Sam Club was also involved in efforts to overturn the tax.
Mark Nemeth, technical advisor to the Escapees RV Club, said the Livingston School District in Polk County, where thousands of Escapees members have registered their vehicles, planned to begin mailing refund checks to travel trailer owners starting Sept. 15, although district officials cautioned that there were a large number of checks to be cut and mailed and that the process could take several weeks to complete.
The problem stemmed from a 2001 ballot initiative that was supposed to allow taxing units other than school districts to grant exemptions to owners of registered, non-income-producing travel trailers. Instead, in implementing the change, Texas lawmakers inadvertently used wording that made travel trailers subject to school taxes, prompting the ire of trailer owners across the Lone Star State.
The annual tax amounts to about 2% of the purchase price or assessed value of a trailer. More than 161,000 travel trailers were registered in Texas as of January 2001, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.